Written by: Daniel Hadley
Sci-fi horror is a great subgenre and Event Horizon shows just how well Sci-fi and Horror can be woven together. It also shows that Paul W.S. Anderson can make a good movie when he isn’t sodomizing a video game’s source material (for those that don’t know, Anderson is the main man in charge of the Resident Evil franchise). Event Horizon stands today as a cult classic of nineties horror and for good reason.
The movie is a little rough around the edges, underdeveloped characters and rushed pacing do hold the film back, but given with the knowledge that the movie was cut down from a one hundred and thirty minute runtime to a mere ninety minutes I can forgive this. Studio interference can lead to tragedy, the remake of Oldboy which had over fifty minutes cut out of it by studio heads can attest to that. Event Horizon overcomes its problems with its great atmosphere, some fantastically gory visuals and a fantastic concept. This is just a damn entertaining nineties flick.
The story is as follows: When the ship Event Horizon reappears after seven years seemingly lost in space, a rescue crew along with the ship’s creator is sent to find any survivors and bring the ship back. Dr. Wiers (the aforementioned engineer) explains that when developing a faster than light drive he found a way to fold time and space by creating a singularity that connects two distant points in the universe by creating a portal that lets the ship instantly travel from one point to another. The question that this film raises is where does the ship go in between these two points, and although a few theories are thrown around, no definitive answer is given. As one character says, “this ship has broken the boundaries of our universe, who knows what it’s seen.” When the rescue crew gets aboard they find the ship empty and after a while they start to have strange hallucinations. The more they learn about the ship and the fate of its previous crew the worse there situation becomes.
Although the characters are a little underdeveloped they are all likable and the acting is pitch perfect. Sam Neill really needs to be in more movies. To talk about his performance here would reveal too much of the plot, but he really is terrific. Lawrence Fishburne is also good, he always has a commanding presence on screen and I totally bought him as the captain. Everyone does a good job, I just wish we could have spent more time getting to know them. This and its pacing are really the only thing that brings this movie down.
Now this movie is most definitely a product of the nineties and it shows from its editing style down to the CGI. But it’s withstood the test of time surprisingly well. The movie lays its creepy atmosphere on thick and there is an overbearing sense of dread that steadily builds as the film goes on. When I first saw this back when it was released it terrified me. I have become desensitized over the years, but this was one of the first movies I remember that really gave me the chills.
Now as for the gore, even though a lot of it was cut due to it being too disturbing for test audiences, what’s left is still gruesome. Explosive decompression, disembowelment and one character ripping his own eyeballs out, that’s all bad enough, but then there are the quick cuts of the previous crew taking part in what can only be described as a blood orgy. Those of you who have seen South Park’s Woodland Critter Christmas will know what I mean. Images of what was cut from the film have surfaced online in recent years and its some pretty god damned brutal stuff. Rumors of a director’s cut have been floating around for a while now and I’d love to see one.
Although this is nearly twenty years old now I didn’t want to go too much into the plot, as I urge you to check it out for yourselves. There’s a good reason this is still talked about today and why it’s built up a cult following over the years. Any Fan of Sci-fi horror should give this a watch. Check it out you won’t be disappointed.