Essentially a haunted house movie set in space, Event Horizon is exactly the type of fare to get the highbrow critics in a lather..

And boy did they, with this 1997 sci-fi getting a right roasting from my scribe colleagues back in the day.

Perhaps it was the horror themes, perhaps it was the in-your-face gore, or perhaps it was just the fact that it was directed by so-called ‘hack’ Paul Anderson, but the film was pretty much a non-starter as far as most were concerned.

But me?

Well I’m going to nail my colours to the mast, roll out the bunting and say it – I love Event Horizon.

For a start all of the supposed criticisms in my earlier paragraphs are plus points as far as I am concerned.

OK, so Paul Anderson may be responsible for such misfires as Resident Evil 2, but he has equally produced enough enjoyable romps to get a pass for that in my book.

 

So – Event Horizon then.

Plot-wise it is a pretty simple affair – a rag-tag crew are commandeered to venture to the orbit of Venus in order to check out a distress signal, all under the watchful eye of scientist Dr Weir (Sam Neill).

The distress signal, so we learn, comes from the Event Horizon itself, a top-secret time-travel craft that went missing seven years ago.

No contact with the crew can be made, but naturally the powers that be want to find out just what exactly happened to their costly investment.

So our heroes travel out to the ship, dock with it and are then subjected to all sort of spooky goings-on, both physical and psychological.

I have no real idea why (as I was not living in London at the time), but I vividly remember seeing this on the big screen at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square on its release and totally reveling in it.

And since then it really has become one of those ‘club’ movies, meaning that I know of a few mates who also love it and sing its praises at every opportunity (hello Wig Durrant in case you are reading this).

So just what is there to like?

Well, as I stated earlier there is a very heavy tone to the film that works really well in my opinion – with the crew suffering psychological problems there is plenty of intense imagery, even bordering on the religious at times.

Anderson does not hold back on the red stuff either, with a number of well orchestrated and convincing effects scenes.

The look of the film is also a real plus point, with dark corridors, clunky spacesuits and flashlights the order of the day.

OK, this may have been done before in the likes of Alien etc but it really works here.

By electing (or maybe having) to go with a strictly B-list crew, with Laurence Fishburne and Neill as the leads, along with a host of Brit back-up in the shape of Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee and Joely Richardson, you are never really sure who is likely to make it through to the end credits, which really helps ratchet up the tension.

And if all that was not enough, you get the bonus of both Orbital and the Prodigy taking up soundtrack duties.

I really have no idea why this is not liked by more people, but if you fancy a bit of sci-fi horror creepiness and have seen Alien (or Sunshine which this resembles) a few too many times, then give Event Horizon a go – you will not be disappointed.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.