Directed by Paul W S Anderson
Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs and Sean Pertwee
A group of astronauts are sent to investigate and salvage the long-lost starship “Event Horizon”. The ship disappeared mysteriously 7 years before on its maiden voyage and with its return comes even more mystery as the crew of the “Lewis and Clark” discover the real truth behind its disappearance.
Event Horizon is a favourite film of mine for many reasons. Chief amongst those reasons is the attention to detail within the film. Rather like Alien and Aliens, great efforts have been put in to the costuming and equipment shown on-screen. Each member of the crew on the Lewis and Clark has their name and medical information on their shirt, to aid in the event of an emergency situation. Their space suits actually look like they should work, with their simplistic design and the little lights on the side of the boots that signal magnetic lock. Everything is, well, practical, when it comes to the rescue craft and its crew. They feel like a unit, with their little jokes and jibes, and Fishburne as the no-nonsense Captain Miller feels perfect as their leader. Even when he is bouncing around in the coolest command chair this side of the Enterprise’s he gives of an air of cool calm. That is, until they arrive at their destination…..
I love the design of the Event Horizon. It is the complete opposite of the Lewis and Clark, all style and sleek lines, almost pretentious. When the two meet, with the rescue ship riding dramatically through atmospheric turbulence before almost colliding with the larger experimental vessel, the contrast helps to show the difference in thinking between the building of the two. One was built for practicality, the other for nothing more than science. The Event Horizon, with its forward command module and rear gravity drive, connected by the long explosively detachable corridor to detach the two in the event of an emergency, feels alien and strange, and that’s even before the vessel starts to reveal its secrets…
The gravity drive, with its huge spinning containment rings, spines and spikes and moat of coolant is like something out of a Clive Barker fantasy, which is probably something of an homage, if the other more obvious scenes of lip service are anything to go by.
Anderson himself admits in the commentary on the Special Edition DVD (which is an excellent purchase, by the way), that Event Horizon pays homage to many other sci-fi and horror films, the most effective one being the wave of blood taken from The Shining
Event Horizon is great fun, bloody, creepy and probably the only good film Paul W S Anderson has ever directed. Well worth checking out and buying. There are some great stories on the Special Edition second disc, such as how they almost burnt done Pinewood with a giant flame thrower, aswell as interviews with the cast and crew too.
The film has some great performances in it from the ever reliable Isaacs and Pertwee, and some excellent use of practical effects, some amazing sets and minature work, and fledgling CGI face imaging. I think it is actually the first film to map the face of an actor onto a stuntman’s. There are some great examples of camera work too, the shot where the camera spirals away from Neill standing at a viewport, through the struts and supports of a space station and then into a wide shot still looks amazing today. Part of the sequence is in the trailer below.