Spoilers will not let you leave the ship.
We’re back on Late Movie Night with the amazing tonal mess that is this film. There’s no question that this movie so desperately wants to be Alien or Aliens but ends up losing its way and becoming a hybrid of Hellraiser plus Doom. Admit it, you want to see it now. This is a sci-fi horror feature that literally throws everything at the wall to see what sticks. Despite its misses and flaws, it still has a place in the nostalgia library of my mind.
Event Horizon (1997) was directed by Paul Anderson and written by Philip Eisner. Captain Miller (Lawrence Fishburne) and his crew are sent on a top secret mission to recover the long range ship Event Horizon that has re-appeared on a decaying orbit around Neptune, seven years after its maiden voyage. They bring along a guest, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), inventor of the gravity engine that allows the movie, I mean, the ship, to break all the rules of time and space.
Now you’re probably thinking this is one of those movies that I find bad in a way that it becomes charming to watch. Not exactly… This movie does get close to hitting the mark. It wants to be the quintessential scary sci-fi. And it has a lot going for it. Lawrence Fishburne does give a decent performance as Captain Miller, a no-nonsense military officer with a very loyal crew. Sam Neill returns to his horror roots. I will never forget him as Damien Thorne from The Omen trilogy. The character he plays here, Dr. Weir, might not be as memorable, but it’s still kind of fun to watch. Well, “fun” might not be the most accurate term.
The movie contains a lot of the classic tropes. The distress call from the Horizon begins as a cry for help and ends up being a warning. Dr. Weir explains the gravity engine with pseudo science and belittles all the crew members. The impulsive guy who wants to punch Dr. Weir and get the hell out was right all along but he’s dead by the time they believe him. The slim corridor that separates the bridge and crew’s quarters from the ship’s engines is rigged with explosives in case they need to separate it. Doors, walkways and devices in the Horizon are not only impractical, they’re basically designed to kill people using them. My favorite is this hallway that is covered with rotating blades because reasons.
The gravity engine is a portal to hell. Or a dimension of chaos. It almost feels like respective nods to both Doom and Warhammer 40K franchises. This is the perfect excuse to use dream sequences, hallucinations of children and dead lovers, and eventually nightmarish visions that force each member to commit suicide. In the case of Dr. Weir, it’s much worse as he rips out his eyes and becomes the ship’s very own Hellraiser. Not all the special effects hold up, and we’ve seen much scarier things since then, but there’s still some gory effects that might be good for a fright.
Recommended for fans of Generation X horror and nostalgia. It doesn’t quite hit the mark, but it’s almost a textbook example of sci-fi horror tropes compilation. It’s a long way from being cringy and it might still hold some scares for the unexpectant crowd. Definitely not inane and not for kids. Anderson is known for directing video game movies and this one feels like it could be one. Perhaps some will call it cringy and/or cheesy in a few more years, but it’s still fun/scary to watch as a nostalgia feature from the 90’s.
That will do for now.