One thing you never forget is the first horror film you ever saw. I mean, proper horror film.
Not scary action with time traveling cyborgs who’ll ‘be back’. Not police enforcing robots who want you to come with them ‘dead or alive’.
I mean a film specifically designed to scare you. For me, that film was Event Horizon. And I was terrified.
Released in 1997 and starring Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburn, Event Horizon was an early film from director Paul W. S. Anderson (Monster Hunter) fresh off of his success with 1995’s Mortal Kombat.
Both a commercial and critical flop on release, the movie has built a following and can now be streamed on the Paramount+ service, much to the terror of 14 year old me.
What Is Event Horizon About?
Event Horizon is a gory and nasty ‘haunted house in space’ movie that draws inspiration from the likes of Clive Barker and Stephen King.
There is more than a dash of Hellraiser about it, with large helpings of Candyman and In The Mouth of Madness (which also starred Neill).
Combining the isolation of space with untold horrors from unknown places is about as much of a winning combination as you could hope for.
The experimental ship Event Horizon disappeared during testing of its space/time folding propulsion drive. When it reappears in a decaying orbit around Neptune, a rescue mission is sent to find the crew.
Captain Miller (Fishburne) leads his tired team – desperate for some shore leave – taking along the Event Horizon’s designer, Dr Weir (Neill), much to the crew’s chagrin.
But wherever the ship ‘went’, it brought something back with it. Something writhing. It isn’t long before visions calling to life their worst past experiences plague the rescuers.
Event Horizon Official Trailer
Is Event Horizon Worth Watching?
The movie’s strong cast includes Jason Isaacs, Kathleen Quinlan , Sean Pertwee, Joely Richardson and Jack Noseworthy (Richard T. Jones fulfils a rather thankless and tonally dissonant comic relief part).
The cast do a fantastic job of succumbing to their own personal torments, and those that don’t have more bodily problems to contend with.
Event Horizon is a gutsy film, quite literally. Famously there is a ‘lost cut’ as around 30 minutes of the more graphic material wasn’t included (varying reasons have been given for this).
What remains is still a punchy film where the antagonism is an evil force. Empty eye sockets, dissected body parts, self-harm, and mutilation by decompression all play a part in making Event Horizon a big noisy smack of wet viscera.
Anderson shoots his movie like predator stalking prey with so many camera angles deployed to subconsciously unnerve.
Lighting is used highly effectively, giving the ship a living, breathing feeling, and the set design full of character.
The centrepiece is the Event Horizon’s engine / drive room. Rotating metal rings encapsulate an imposing oblique sphere, where each swoosh of the mechanism thrums with threat. Alien was mostly endless corridors. Event Horizon has a wretched heart.
No-one is having more fun than Sam Neill. It isn’t a spoiler to suggest that Dr Weir’s emotional connection to the ship – now saturated in unknowable malevolence – has somewhat of an effect on his decisions.
The rescue ship, crippled early on, is always on the cusp of being fixed. Each setback kicks the movie up a notch until a highly satisfying fire and brimstone ending which Neill grasps with both hands.
14 year old me only coped with Event Horizon by watching The Blues Brothers immediately afterwards.
40 year old me cackles in delight at a horror film that unashamedly goes big and, for the most part, towers over you like an inescapable force.
To quote a key line from the movie, “I am home”.
Words by Mike Record
Paramount Plus is the streaming platform that has it all! Get ready to be hooked by gripping dramas, edge of your seat action movies, and Laugh out loud with hit comedies. No matter your taste, Paramount Plus got something for everyone, all conveniently in one place.
Join now & get 7 days FREE.
- Apple TV brings you the future of television, right at your fingertips. Immerse yourself in the world of laughter, inspiration, and heartwarming moments with the critically acclaimed show, Ted Lasso, and a plethora of other captivating content.
- Star studded, award winning series and films.
Amazon Prime Video
- Welcome to a world of boundless entertainment, where thrilling stories come to life at your convenience. Amazon Prime Video invites you to explore a universe of gripping narratives, including the adrenaline-pumping series, "Reacher," and an extensive selection of captivating content that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Additional benefits of Prime Membership: Music Streaming Service, Amazon Photos and Exclusive Offers
- Delve into a world of original storytelling, where Disney's creativity knows no bounds. With Disney+ Originals like "The Mandalorian," "WandaVision," and "Loki," you'll witness new narratives and characters that expand the enchanting tapestry of the Disney universe.
- Great collection of Kids series and movies.