Movie Review: Event Horizon

Let’s make this perfectly clear: I pay more attention to my horoscope than I do to professional movie critics. Why? Most of them are men for one thing. Another reason is they take the enjoyment out of entertainment. The vast majority seem like they need an asterisk and sponsored notation in their profile. There are a few that lift that art form to another level; Roger Ebert was one. None since have compared. Far be it for me to judge though and since I read them rarely, I cannot be qualified to state that as a fact. If you want to recommend good reviewers, I’m listening. Another reason is that I rarely watch movies anymore unless they’re on Netflix or the months that I’m able to afford Hulu or HBO; more rarity. Movies seldom pique my interest like series do.

I have a friend. I love her dearly. She scrolled through my Amazon video library grimacing in pain. She went to a Serenity showing with me; I could smell her judgment it was so potent. Yes, Serenity has bad dialogue. Up until Wash & Shep [spoiler], it’s a fun movie. I classify these kinds of movies as B-movies—B because nobody likes them but me. A pal argued with me: You cannot change the definition of a thing. I replied why not, everyone else is nowadays. So, from now on I’m gonna call these little review B-movies because this bitch likes them, that’s why.

This weekend’s movie is Event Horizon; a 1997 sci-fi horror flick starring Laurence Fishburne. Sam Neill, Jason Isaacs, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard Jones, Sean Pertwee and Jack Noseworthy; directed by Paul Anderson (not the Inherent Vice writer/director with the freakish creepy cult-like following; or does this one have it too?) and written by Philip Eisner.

I love Laurence Fishburne. I watched Apocalypse Now for the first time in a long time and there was Laurence Fishburne. He hit all the peak 80’s shows: Miami Vice, The Equalizer, Trapper John, Hill Street Blues…how has this man not gotten a lifetime achievement award?! He was Morpheus and Jack Crawford and Ray Langston and Bowery King and Nelson freakin’ Mandela. Then there’s Pops. Another one of my favorite B-movies is Class Action—a 1991 flick starring Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and yes, you guessed it: Larry Fishburne. 

The premise: it’s 2047 and Larry aka Captain Miller and crew along with Sam Neill are on a search and rescue mission for the Event Horizon, a deep space research vessel “launched to explore boundaries of solar system” that in 2040 “disappears without trace beyond the eighth planet, Neptune.” The trailer alone made me weak in the knees. The opening scene is spooky as hell and prepares you for a fun ride.

The camaraderie between Miller and his crew is one of the things that make the movie so appealing. He’s the cool fun dedicated paternalistic figure who knows when to be serious, assertive and captainy. Richard Jones is the comic sidekick of the crew and a fine looking one at that. It’s Lala Land so there’s really no one in this movie that’s aesthetically unappealing, except for when they lose their eyes and skin and guts and they’re still really ghoulishly pretty; yeah, that happens. It has all the creepy scenes of anticipation that we horror lovers crave; there’s gore, blood, Latin and evil. They even threw in an orgy and some truly comical anachronisms—cdroms in 2047 seems like the equivalent of a big floppy disk nowadays. There’s an intriguing looking stargate—the ship’s core—with a black event horizon; and I start imagining an Event Horizon-like Stargate SG1 series where a crew of explorers go through the evil anti-stargate to other pernicious type realms; every episode is like a new horror dimension where they engage in deep philosophical mindfucks and terrors in the likes of an H.P. Lovecraft or Thomas Ligotti short story. Someone, please write and produce THAT.

There’s the pen-through-paper wormhole trope and I’m wondering if this is the movie it originated? I can name three sci-fi shows/movie I remember that has this trope (all fantastic): Interstellar, Fringe and Stranger Things. For someone who is unfamiliar with this, it’s a good explanation. For hardcore sci-fi fans, it’s something we have to slog through to get to the good stuff. I had family and friends who told me the only science they understood in Interstellar was the wormhole explanation and that right there is prolly why they use it so much.

This is where I first heard the idea of a living ship, which was and still is fascinating to me. Farscape explores that further—one of my favorite sci-fi shows of all time and a definite future review. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series takes the idea of a living ship to another level entirely. The books are incredible and witty and a definite must read for sci-fi fans.

Director Anderson had planned on working on “a restoration of deleted footage.” Unfortunately, all the deleted footage was either “lost or destroyed.” Due to the studio’s short timeline, the editing period was cut in half. This is evident throughout the film. The scene where they first approached the Event Horizon is edited so abruptly it’s obvious and clunky.

The science is mediocre at best. The scene where Justin floats out the airlock is comical. Otherwise, the movie is a fun watch.

There have only been a few movies including this one with the hell theme that have creeped me out. Prince of Darkness was another that fucked me up. I still get shivers thinking of that movie. Event Horizon made me jump some but not nearly enough. Mostly it was just cool; sci-fi horror cool. Hell is usually not so creepy to me since I’m an atheist and believe it’s just an imaginary place they made up to make Christians conform. With the news being what it is lately, hell is just another day on Earth. Or Twitter. 

Event Horizon is on Amazon.


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