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  • Nate Lemann

ALIEN HORROR SUMMER - NO. 23: EVENT HORIZON (1997) MOVIE REVIEW

Updated: Jul 16

No. 23 on our countdown is Paul W. S. Anderson’s demonic alien space thriller that while well beyond the realm of credulity, is truly a grotesque hell of a time - it's “Alien” meets “Dante’s Inferno”.


by Nate Lemann

The Drive from "Event Horizon"
The Drive from "Event Horizon"
 

Sam Neil sure made a few interesting choices after his mainstream breakthrough in 1993’s “Jurassic Park”: his next two big mainstream pictures were the existential horror film “In the Mouth of Madness” and the demonic sci-fi thriller “Event Horizon”. Both films go off the proverbial deep ends and Neil is very game to play into the more hammy elements of the stories. 


In this thriller, Neil plays Weir, the enigmatic engineer who designed the famed ship “Event Horizon”: seven years before the events of the film, the Event Horizon journeyed to the edge of our solar system to test a new space travel drive: as previewed by the ship’s name, the drive creates a mini-black hole that opens a wormhole to create a way to travel to the farther reaches of space in a manner of seconds. However, moments after their maiden test, the ship disappeared without a trace. 


Seven years later, a signal is sent: the Event Horizon has returned - from where is the question. Weir joins a military rescue crew, led by Miller (Laurence Fishburne). Weir, unbeknownst to the rest of the team, is starting get horrific visions of his dead wife. He plays that off to a lack of sleep but as they get closer to the ship, the visions get more pronounced…and dangerous. When they enter the ship, they find only one mutilated corpse left and no hint as to where the ship has been all these years. 


As they begin to investigate, the picture of horror that befell the last crew becomes more clear and the ship may or may not be just a ship anymore. Anderson stages the unraveling of the crew with great care, using quite disturbing imagery to pick at both the crew’s and our sanity. As things begin to go sideways, Weir starts to become possessed by something far more nefarious than anyone could’ve ever predicted.


The violence here can be a bit over the top and is inline with Anderson’s future work in the “Resident Evil” franchise. Yet, it still works as the horrific truth begins to reveal itself to Weir and the crew: the ship didn’t travel to another part of space. It traveled to another dimension and what they found there can only be described as “hell”.  The ship has melded with an entity there and is looking for new subjects to experience its true horror. It is a novel idea and one that carries this movie very far on its shoulders. Some of the background actors aren’t as strong but Neil and Fishburne really carry the film and the final “creature” designs are next-level. The production design, while not all too realistic, is quite cinematic in look and screams horror. 


It may not have a traditional alien but the horror factor in this one is up there with some of the best of its era.


 

FINAL RATING: 3.5/5 (Unique and demonic horror thriller in space)     


 

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Hi! I'm Nate and I love to talk all things movies. I'll be posting new reviews, recent rewatches, and much more on this site. So come on and let's talk movies! 

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