Exceedingly malleable, the genre of horror has explored a variety of settings over the years. Although many stories choose to stay grounded on Earth, others have expanded into the unknown universe. Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, 1997’s Event Horizon offers an engaging science fiction tale filled with haunting imagery. While not every element works, the core concept allows it to be an unforgettable horror experience.
A team of astronauts are sent to investigate a lost spaceship that has suddenly reappeared after being lost for years. The ensemble is led by Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne. They are joined by Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs and Sean Pertwee.
Event Horizon is a movie that excels in its visual storytelling. Excellently blending lighting techniques with glimpses of horrifying imagery, this journey into madness is as intriguing as it is unsettling. Successfully creating scenes filled with dread, Paul W. S. Anderson combines shocking visions with well-built tension. As the foundation of the events, the titular ship supports all these components well. Although it is sometimes a little excessive, its medieval design adds an extra layer of unease to every scene. The environment truly feels otherworldly and acts as the perfect catalyst for the story to unfold.
Driven by some solid performances, the narrative is simple but always interesting. There are certain elements that could have been explained better but the mystery is undoubtedly immersive. With this in mind, the Cooper character does feel completely out of place. While everyone else seems to be in a horror film, his dialogue appears to be pulled from a comedy. This compounded with the more action-heavy set-pieces in the finale does cause a tonal clash that is unfortunately quite distracting.
There are certainly negatives that bring the quality of the picture down but they are largely around the edges of a solid centre. The core concept that is being explored is both fascinating and horrific. For the most part, it is presented effectively thanks to efficient directing and a cast that is committed to their roles.
Released over 2 decades ago, Event Horizon is a movie that succeeds at its purpose despite its flaws. Transporting audiences into a unique science-fiction scenario, this is a film that won’t be forgotten any time soon.