Movie Review: Event Horizon (1997)

Deep space travel? Check! Mysterious spacecraft? Check! Unexplained happenings? Check! Buckle yourself in for the ride because Paul W.S. Anderson managed to make a movie that didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out (har har, you’ll get it if you’ve seen the movie already).

The movie is about a ship called the Event Horizon. It was lost on its maiden voyage under strange circumstances and a crew is assembled to go out and find her. So far, so good. The crew is made up of a group of motley characters but the standouts are obviously Sam Neill, who I believe is one of the most underrated actors of all time, Laurence Fishburne, and Jason Isaacs. There are some throwaway characters, as there always are in this type of film, but that’s okay because you’ve got to have casualties, right?

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Where this movie shines is atmosphere. The tension that is built in this claustrophobic nightmare is wound so tight that it makes breathing a conscious effort. The sense of impending doom is like an extra character in the film that’s there in every scene. A lot of people have called this an unofficial Hellraiser film, and that’s a statement. When things get rolling this is very much like a Clive Barker nightmare in deep space. I remember originally seeing this in theaters with my sister back in 1997 and looking over to see her curled up in a ball in her seat, not wanting to watch but unable to turn away. The movie still holds that kind of power, but surround sound (or a good set of headphones) and a dark room are a must.

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The film does suffer from late 90′s special effects but it doesn’t harm the core of the film, and that core is as mean as hell. This is one trip to hell and back, and I highly recommend it to anyone who  likes their science fiction with a dark edge to it. I know I didn’t discuss very much about the story and that’s because there are too many spoilers to be given. It’s not as if there are any major plot twists that will leave you slack-jawed, but watching for the first time should be experienced not knowing what’s around the corner.

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