Terror in Space – Event Horizon

Event Horizon is currently available on instant Netflix.

One line review: Hooey but pretty, entertaining hooey with a good cast.

Event HorizonEvent Horizon (1997) – Rated R

Seven years after it went missing, a spaceship sends a garbled signal back to Earth that sounds a lot like a cry for help. A rescue ship is dispatched to investigate, but the crew soon realizes that something unimaginable has happened on board.”

I thought it said “liberate me” – “save me.” But it’s not “me.” It’s “liberate tutame” – “save yourself.” And it gets worse.”

Oh, to be forced to sing the praises of Paul W.S. Anderson. I have never seen his directorial debut, Shopping, but his sophomore effort, Mortal Kombat is big, pretty, loud dumb fun. Event Horizon is big, pretty, loud dumb fun. Soldier is big, pretty, loud dumb fun. Ditto Resident Evil. Ditto Alien vs. Predator. Never mind that the last two were very much missed opportunities.

His more recent efforts of Death Race, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and Resident Evil: Retribution have been increasingly dumb and decreasingly fun. I have not seen his version of The Three Musketeers and I do not hold much hope for the upcoming Pompeii, in spite of a decent cast. I have no doubt that there will be another Resident Evil with his wife, Milla Jovovich.

Event Horizon is very pretty and stylish. It has been called a cross between Alien and Hellraiser and it does shamelessly rip off ideas from both, though admittedly most modern space horror rips off Alien.

Event Horizon is fun in a check your brain at the door kind of way. The science is predictably and laughably bad. The ship is going to pull 30 g’s so everyone has to be in tubes yet they fail to secure a lot of the ship. The Event Horizon and in particular the ‘meatgrinder’ and gravity drive look pretty cool, although I’m not sure what purpose the large spikes in the engine room serve or the massive number of lights in the service corridor.

There is a good cast assembled. Laurence Fishburne is the star as Captain Miller. Sam Neill plays the enigmatic scientist Dr. Weir. The distaff side of the crew are played well by Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck) and Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13). Other crewmembers include Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers), Richard T. Jones (Collateral), Jack Noseworthy (U-571), and Jason Isaacs (The Patriot).

While the science is, to put it charitably, dodgy, the first half is quite good. Event Horizon starts off as science fiction and gradually segues into horror. The science fiction aspects are silly but tense. Unfortunately the horror aspects pile on incredulity after incredulity so some may enjoy the first half, some more the first three quarters, etc. Eventually most people will reach the point of hooey but I find Event Horizon pretty entertaining.

People Watch: Noah Huntley who, unrecognizably, plays the Burning Man has gone on to play Mark in 28 Days Later and King Magnus in Snow White and the Huntsman.