Sunday, October 20, 2019

EVENT HORIZON (1997) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 18
Total First Time Views: 8
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $1,431.46

Event Horizon (1997) d. Paul W.S. Anderson (UK/USA) (96 min) (2nd viewing)

Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill) has invented a futuristic “gravity drive” engine that, through a synthetic black hole, travels by folding time and space. Using the new engine, the spaceship Event Horizon disappears from radar scopes upon its maiden voyage, inexplicably reappearing seven years later in an orbit around Neptune. Taking Weir in tow, Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) leads a scrappy crew on a mission to recover the lifeless craft, only to find that the ship seems to have “brought something back” from… wherever it’s been. With the former crew missing, and a malevolent presence lurking, the term “ghost ship” feels all too apt.

This intriguing and intelligent sci-fi/horror effort devolves into a gory, glitzy splatterfest despite screenwriter Philip Eisner’s best efforts to spin a spooky haunted-house-in-space yarn. (Joseph Bennett’s [Dust Devil, Deep Blue Sea] impressive-looking production design is far too slick and well-lit to create the requisite atmosphere.) Walking a difficult line between high-tech gadgetry and low-frills creepy, the movie succeeds best when showing less (the fuzzy visual log of the previous crew’s fate, the almost subliminal flashes of tortured, violent imagery).

Unfortunately, subtlety is not director Anderson’s (Resident Evil, Death Race) strong suit. When the ship begins to literally come to life, the focus shifts to excessive gore and computer-generated flash, taking a regrettable nosedive into effects-driven incoherency.

Fishburne fills his level-headed, tough captain’s boots adequately even if he rarely deviates from his one-note authoritarian turn; in contrast, Neill’s well-crafted performance degenerates into shouty proclamations by the final reel. Likely inspired by Aliens’ roughnecks, the crew is populated with worthy performers (Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Jack Noseworthy, Richard T. Jones) resigned to performing within their prescribed thinly-drawn boxes, rendering all-too-minimal emotional investment in their all-too-predictable (if splashy) demises.

The technical effects are extremely well-wrought, though one can’t help but wonder how things might have fallen out if Anderson would have trusted his audience to be sufficiently unnerved by low-level chills instead of feeling obligated to blast them out of their seats with increasingly loud and dazzling set-pieces. As it stands, with the techno-pop thundering in our ears during the closing credits, the sense is one of being pummeled into submission when a gentle whisper would have served.


Audio commentary with director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt

The Making of Event Horizon: A five-part documentary (103 min)

The Point of No Return: The Filming of Event Horizon (8 min)

Secrets (10 min)

The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene (3 min)

Conceptual Art (4 min)

Theatrical trailers

Event Horizon is available now on Blu-ray from Paramount Pictures and can be ordered via most retail platforms.


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