"Event Horizon" is A Terrifying Trip to Hell and Back


This sci-fi space horror film from the late 1990s has become a sort of cult hit.  It’s a strange crazy ride that is at times completely ridiculous and utterly horrifying.  After the success of the video game adaptation of “Mortal Kombat,” Director Paul W.S. Anderson creates his own vision of hell that lands somewhere between “The Shining”, “Alien” and “Hellraiser.” Although a box office disappointment it found life in the DVD market and has since enjoyed quite the following. 

There is a timeline scroll during the opening and we find out that the year is 2047.  We meet Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) who is awoken by a nasty nightmare about his wife.  Space is a very cold and lonely place.  He is apart of the crew of the Lewis and Clark that is led by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne).  We meet the rest of the crew and Dr. Weir seems like the odd man out and as we find out he really is a truly disturbed and corrupt individual.  The crew is given orders to investigate a long lost ship that has suddenly reappeared, the ship is the Event Horizon.  This film exists in a time where CGI effects were still in its infancy.  Although the film generally looks good for its time, the practical effects are great.

When the crew docks with the Event Horizon they find it eerily empty and start to investigate.  They go through this trippy rotating tunnel that looks like a meat grinder.  It’s like one of those you would see at a carnival that messes with your equilibrium.  The heart of the ship is its core, three giant rotating steel rings.  When investigating the rings they suddenly align and a portal opens up, sucking in a curious crew member.  When he is recovered he says “It shows you things, the dark inside me”  There is talk about black holes, wormholes, and other mind-bending scenarios as to what happened to the ship during its 7 year absence.  It has literally been to hell and back.  There is this malevolent force that permeates all throughout the ship that causes the crew to have delusions and hallucinations.  It knows your fears. 

In one of the most disturbing scenes, the crew is able to access some footage of what happened to the previous crew and we get this orgiastic feast of bizarre hellish violence.  Weir eventually goes completely off the deep end and is most likely controlled by the devil himself.  We end up in a battle between Weir and Miller. 

The way the film starts out is nothing out of the ordinary from most space movies, but it grows increasingly tense and disturbing.  It’s a great midnight feature best watched in a non-sober state. It can be a little campy and stupid at times veering off into B-movie territory but that's part of its appeal.  Together with some authentic scares and fun characters, this is definitely a movie to come back to again and again.