Movie #85 2022: Event Horizon (1997)

Nine times out of ten, I watch a movie that has for years been labelled a ‘cult movie’, and I love it. Donnie Darko, Heathers, Ghost World, Clue and Empire Records are all movies I’ve seen, enjoyed and sometimes loved, and they all come with that ‘cult status’ label. With Event Horizon, I wasn’t sure I’d feel the same way since it seemed kind of kooky and low budget… and not in a good way.

The film is set in 2047, in which a group of astronauts board a spaceship in order to find the ‘Event Horizon’; a space vessel that disappeared years ago on a mission to Neptune’s outer limits. Whilst hesitant from the off, the crew complete their task in finding the lost ship, and when they manage to board it, they finally realise that their initial hesitancies were justified.

With it being Halloween season, I usually make an effort to watch more horror/thrillers around this time of year. When I went into this one, my thoughts before watching were basically “naaaaah, there’s no way is this a horror movie”… I apologise to everyone involved – this shit is gruesome. 

It’s very surprising to hear that the original cut of Event Horizon was 130 minutes, because one of the best things about it is the cinematic edit doesn’t fuck around at all. The movie opens with some informative title cards, then BOOM, we’re on the way to Neptune. As much as Paul W. S. Anderson might have wanted a longer film, it’s easy to side with Paramount’s insistence on a shorter runtime on this one. (Which is a shame for me as a person, since usually I try to err on the side of filmmakers).

Many criticisms for Event Horizon come due to its low budget, hokey special effects but to be honest, I never really felt any of that. The sets especially are elaborate enough, and the gravity core looks cool as fuck to put it bluntly. The only time you’ll really notice its minuscule budget is when you see the weird CGI grey slime floating around, which never looks convincing and is never actually properly explained. But the guts and gore side of things? Absolutely skin-crawling and realistic – proof of some real expertise in that regard. 

Another positive that will keep you invested is this movie’s brilliant cast. Sam Neill is typically fine (although it’s fun to watch him play someone entirely unhinged for once) and Jason Isaacs effortlessly makes you love his character, even if he has relatively little to do. The MVP though is undoubtedly Laurence Fishburne, who gives one of his best ever performances if you ask me, making the most of an often cheesy script that is littered with plot holes. 

Do I understand the criticism? Absolutely. But I also understand why this movie is now reaching cult status in a similar vain to David Lynch’s Dune. It’s by no mean perfect, yet it’s consistently gripping and that’s all you can ask for really, isn’t it?

Event Horizon is currently available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½

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