Release year: 1997
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Screenwriter: Philip Eisner
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee
When starship ‘Event Horizon’, which disappeared mysteriously on its maiden voyage, suddenly reappear, a rescue team is sent to investigate. But when Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) along with his team and the inventor of the starship, Dr. Weir (Sam Neill), arrives, they find the crew of the ship missing, but that doesn’t mean the ship is empty. Something is on board and soon the rescue team must fight their worst nightmares to rescue themselves.
Shortly after his directorial debut and before hitting fame with Resident Evil (2002), Anderson created this claustrophobic Sci-Fi horror that has gained a large fan base over time. With a stunning production design the movie looks the part and Anderson quickly manage to set up a moody atmosphere that slowly creeps over into a growing sense of danger. The plot is a bit razzle dazzle and probably wouldn’t survive specialists scrutinizing it, but it works as background for the space nightmare. The cast is really good, lead by the excellent Fishburne (The Matrix, 1999) and Neill (Jurassic Park, 1993), but there are also a strong support cast mainly from Richardson (Maggie, 2015) and Isaacs (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002). The movie offers jump scares and quickly enter the deep space nightmare zone (after all, in space noone can hear you scream), making it obvious to compare to more effective Sci-Fi horrors like the far superior Alien from 1979, but even though there are clear similarities, the monster hiding on this ship highly defers from other alien monster, making Event Horizon stand out enough to deserves a spot on any list of well-functioning Sci-Fi horrors taking place in space. If you are a fan of before mentioned Alien, this is definitely worth your time. It is a well-acted horror that manage to create a claustrophobic atmosphere, and that ain’t bad at all.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s initial cut of the film ran 130 minutes and was quite graphically violent, so much so that both test audiences and the studio balked at the finished product. Paramount ordered him to cut the film by 30 minutes and tone down some of the violence, a decision he now regrets. Although it was announced in 2012 that a full version of the film had been found, Anderson revealed in 2017 that due to bad archiving, a longer version no longer exist.
Picture copyrights: UIP