“Wow!” and “Potential” are the words that popped up in my mind during the first 20 minutes or so of Event Horizon. Then the phrases “Ugh” and “It had potential” started to creep in. In the opening 20 minutes of Event Horizon, we are treated to some well-done special effects along with some pretty good ideas for a sci-fi movie. But after we are introduced to these ideas, we are sent on a path to a typical horror film. The premise to Event Horizon has so much potential; A ship, Event Horizon, is built with a special Gravity Drive that will let it tear holes in the space-time continuum and let it travel across galaxies without any effort. It does this by first tearing a hole at the two points, the origin and the destination. Then the Gravity Drive “folds” space-time so that the ship can be transported to the destination instantaneously. Sam Neill, plays William Weir, the creator of the Gravity Drive, he explains how the Gravity Drive works much better in the film. With this kind of start, and this kind of premise, there is infinite potential on a good solid sci-fi film. But, screenwriter Philip Eisner lets the script wander to the standard horror genre, and turns this film into nothing more than a gory not-scary film.
It seems that seven years after the Event Horizon disappeared; it has not reappeared in orbit around Neptune. A team is dispatched to rescue any crew onboard the Event Horizon, salvage the Event Horizon, and find out what happened to the Event Horizon. The team is led by Captain Joe Miller (Lawrence Fishburne). The team is filled with stock two-dimensional characters, including one for comic relief. None of the characters are memorable. Sam Neill’s William Weir is tagging along with the team to advise them. With the look of the film and the strange make up of the team, it looks almost like the Space Marines from James Cameron’s Aliens. But, unfortunately, the casting for the team is not as strong, and the writing for the team is not up to par. The Event Horizon it seems has gone to Hell, or some evil place, and come back. The ship is now haunted, and it has a new crew to play with, and kill.
As a horror film, Event Horizon does what it can. Using a lot of the turn-around-to-see-a-scary-thing technique to try to scare the audience. It also uses very short flashes of images and burst of sound to try to scare the audience. Most of these work, but after a few of them, I was wondering if the director was running short of inventive ways to scare the audience.
The good thing about Event Horizon is the look of it. Director Paul Anderson, who’s last film, Mortal Kombat, also looked great, creates a world that is dark, dingy and scary. The special effects are well done, these include some long shots of Neptune, complete with whirling storms. The spacecrafts look great and the interiors of Event Horizon and The Lewis and Clark are also great. But, all of the looks are lost to a boring, uninspired, horror film that hardly does what it sets out to do: Scare the audience.
Sam Neill gives a decent performance as Weir, the smart and somewhat crazed scientist. Laurence Fishburne is below par, and looks as if he is as bored with the film as the audience is. The rest of the crew gives forgettable performances, and I really think that Kathleen Quinlan’s (Apollo 13) talents are wasted in this film.
Event Horizon a film that can be missed in the theatres and on video. It has a wonderful setup, but does not go through with it. Though it is visually spectacular, the story is just not there to support it’s eye candy. A definite miss, save your money. Event Horizon has gone to Hell and has come back, but it seems as if all the fun has been striped of it in Hell.