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LAURENCE FISHBURNE * SAM NEILL in
EVENT HORIZON also starring
KATHLEEN QUINLAN * JOELY RICHARDSON * SEAN PERTWEE * JASON ISAACS
JACK NOSEWORTHY * RICHARD T.JONES * Directed by PAUL W.S. ANDERSON
This is a largely forgotten sci-fi scare thriller which seems like it should have come out soon after the first Alien film (1979) but waited about a decade too long. There was a flurry of these combo sci-fi/horror films in the early eighties, such as Galaxy of Terror; these films combine space exploration with monsters and scares, revisiting the 'haunted house in outer space' plot which goes all the way back to It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958).
The film looks rather impressive in the beginning. It takes place in the year 2047 and we get a look at a huge orbiting space station above Earth in the early going (the way things are going, I doubt we'll have such spectacular technology above us 40 years from now - filmmakers continue to overestimate our progress). The plot concerns the re-emergence of a missing ship, the Event Horizon, in orbit around the planet Neptune. Another ship, commanded by Fishburne's captain character, is sent to check it out. Neill plays the designer of the missing/now-returned ship and he's obviously got some kind of psychological problems - what, we're not really sure. The rest are a standard crew, 6 or 7 in all.
This borrows a lot from earlier films; besides the Alien films and their copies, there's also a bit of Solaris, The Black Hole (1979), the Hellraiser film series and even 2001. The general message is that space is even more scary than we think. This suggests that a kind of hell does exist, though it's probably an alternate dimension, not the traditional version of hell, and that by venturing too far out there we'll encounter such hell prematurely. Though, building new technology for our ship's engines shall also play a part in our descent into some horrific setting. It gets a bit confusing.
This presents some intriguing ideas but never advances beyond a lot of scary noises, some disturbing images and a sense of dread that never builds to anything substantial. As expected, the crew fall victim to one thing or another one-by-one and reality is never what it seems to be. It becomes merely a question of which one or two will survive to the very end, a story that goes back, of course, to Alien (1979). BoG's Score: 6 out of 10. A similar film a couple of years after this was Supernova.
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