Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson [Other horror films: The Sight (2000), Resident Evil (2002), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)]
With a cast boasting Sam Neill (1981’s The Final Conflict, 1994’s In the Mouth of Madness, and one of my favorite non-horror films, Jurassic Park), Jason Isaacs (some of the Harry Potter films and 2016’s A Cure for Wellness), Sean Pertwee (2002’s Dog Soldiers, 2006’s Wilderness, and Gotham), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), and Richard T. Jones (long-standing appearances on Judging Amy, a series I rather enjoyed), you would think that Event Horizon could do no wrong. Despite seeing it around three times now, though, I’m still not entirely sold on the film.
I like a lot of what the movie does, especially the psychological torture many of the main characters go through once coming on board the ship. The story is pretty interesting, and while there’s not really that many freaky moments, the ones we get work out decently well.
My biggest problem has always been the split-second glimpse we get of the truly gruesome stuff. Sure, one of the characters has a very Hellraiser-esque death, but much of the brutality passes by the screen way too quickly to get a real hold on what we’re seeing. In some ways, I appreciate that tactic, because while the audience clearly doesn’t see everything, the characters do, allowing their frantic attempts to leave the ship to sort of bolster the feeling of terror the images cause. Even so, especially toward the end, I’d have liked a more clear-cut idea of this other universe, and we never really got that, and instead were teased with images we didn’t get to see in full.
Otherwise, if you can ignore a bit of hideous CGI at times, Event Horizon has a decent amount going for it. Neill’s not always the best actor here, but he is at least fun (“Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see”), and the inclusion of Isaacs, Pertwee, Fishburne, and Jones more than make up for that. The story is moderately fresh, and despite my issues, I really like a lot about the film. Because of the fact that there’s still quite a bit left unanswered, though, I’ve never loved Event Horizon, and while it’s not a bad film, I don’t think it’s really above average. Sorry, guys.