It’s the Booze Talkin’: Should we give Paul W.S. Anderson a break?

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

When you think of great horror, you certainly have a number of groundbreaking filmmakers that come to mind. We’ve been blessed with visionaries like Guillermo del Toro, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, James Wan and many more. However, if you are like me, you are probably a fan of someone less notable. Perhaps somebody who has a cult following, or you just happen to love some of their movies for the fun factor. Perhaps because they have a cool kill or two, or maybe because they offer up an awesome protagonist (or antagonist) to keep the viewer engaged. For me, one of those filmmakers happens to be the man behind one of the silliest – yet oftentimes most ridiculously entertaining – franchises ever produced.

event horizon paul ws anderson 1997 laurence fishburne sam neill kathleen quinlan joely richardson horror science fiction

I get it, some of you are already preparing your “I hate Paul W.S. Anderson” venom. It’s true that his resume doesn’t include a ton of critically acclaimed features. And frankly, I myself have not been a fan of some of his work. Yet even movies like THE THREE MUSKETEERS and DEATH RACE has something entertaining to offer. You aren’t going to find great depth in any of the characters, and you will probably hear some shockingly silly dialogue, yet I still can enjoy much of what the director has to offer. What he will give you is a bunch of loud CGI and action, not much else, but sometimes a silly popcorn flick can be very satisfying experience.

pompeii paul ws anderson emily browning kiefer sutherland adventure 2014 kit harrington

Looking back on Anderson’s career, it is quite easy for me to pick what I feel is his best work. When it comes to horror, the 1997 sci-fi shocker EVENT HORIZON is a weird and occasionally wonderful film. It may not even come close to the level of something like ALIEN, but it still manages to offer up some gruesome outer space terror. Of course it would be hard to completely mess this one up when you have Laurence Fishbourne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson in your cast. This science fiction thriller is a solid piece of genre entertainment, and it still holds up relatively well.

milla jovovich resident evil paul ws anderson ali larter video game horror

After EVENT HORIZON, Anderson went on to experiment in the world of sci-fi with the Kurt Russell flick SOLDIER, as well as the supernatural with a TV-movie called The Sight. Yet he seems to be happiest when mixing horror elements with the fantastical elements of science fiction. Most of his work in some way represents both, this includes the less than impressive AVP: ALIEN VS. PREDATOR – sorry, I wasn’t a fan. But I am a fan of a series of movies that he has been heavily involved in. And no, I am not a huge gamer so I didn’t have that sort of knowledge or affection for the Resident Evil games themselves.

resident evil paul ws anderson ali larter milla jovovich horror science fiction video game

The RESIDENT EVIL franchise is a strange one, simply because it is very hard to find anyone that I know who will admit they enjoy the films. And still, it has been a very profitable series thanks to modest budgets and a loyal fanbase. Many fans were heavily disappointed in the series, which may have led to the announced reboot in the hands of James Wan, and yes, that is very exciting. Yet I appreciate what Anderson brought to the Umbrella Corporation and the rest of this universe. These are more time-wasters than fine art, but I still get a kick out of watching Milla Jovovich beating ass as Alice. And with the recent news that Anderson will be once again letting Milla get tough in a little something called MONSTER HUNTER, I’m most likely going to check it out with a smile on my face.

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but perhaps we should give Paul W.S. Anderson a break. Certainly his work isn’t critically acclaimed, and he may not have the style and nuance of someone like del Toro or Ridley Scott. However, the man somehow managed to make a hit franchise out of a video game series with a huge thanks going to foreign box office. There is a reason they made seven of them – four of which directed by Anderson, although he was involved in all of them. Paul W.S. Anderson may not be in the echelon of, say, Carpenter or Craven, but he can create a fun – if slightly dumb – hour and a half of gory entertainment. Nowadays, there’s something to be said about that.

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Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.