Looking back: Event Horizon (1997)

Looking back is a new feature here, whereby I watch an old film I may or may not have seen already and then give it a review afterwards. Typically these will be films that aren’t on general release at the cinema, as those will just appear in the normal reviews section.

As I say, the Looking Back feature will be a chance to view and review older films and may hopefully give my readers the opportunity to have their say on a chosen film in the comments, I might even be able to unlock a hidden gem for people to watch or maybe someone has a recommendation for me.

Today: Event Horizon.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill & Kathleen Quinlan

Synopsis: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board.

Event Horizon feels very old to me now. It came out in 1997 after all, and at times it looks every bit its age. Especially in an early special effects sequence showing objects floating around a derelict spaceship. At the time though, this probably looked superb.

I did not see this film at the time of its release, I was only twelve and didn’t like horror films then. Having watched it last week though, I feel its score of 6.6/10 on the IMDb & 23% on Rotten Tomatoes are both slightly unfair. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not grand art and it’s nowhere near as good as the films it really wants to be, Alien & The Shining in space. It is however, a highly entertaining sci-fi/horror romp that has an interesting premise and doesn’t skimp at all on the violence.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, a man whose films include Mortal Kombat, Soldier, AvP, Death Race and most of the Resident Evil films. These are all generally considered to be awful films, some are guilty pleasures though, AvP being one of my favorite guilty pleasures. This should not put you off seeing Event Horizon though.

The cast seems to be enjoying themselves for the most part. Laurence Fishburne puts in a dedicated shift as the Captain of the ship and most of his crew are likable, each getting their moment to shine. Only Sam Neill seems to be on auto-pilot, but this could also be down to his having to play a largely unlikable character, when Sam Neill always seems so easy-going in most other roles.

My only gripe is the uninspired ending, which after some very good tension building and a nice twist midway through the film, ends up being a bout of fisticuffs which takes away from some of the more supernatural elements that were hinted at before.

Event Horizon is far from perfect and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for fans of the genre or those willing to take a gamble, it proves to be a satisfying 1 hour and 35 minutes. Much better than 2009’s similar but truly awful Pandorum anyway.


2 thoughts on “Looking back: Event Horizon (1997)

  1. Saw this over a year ago when I heard there this similar to Pandorum which I actually liked. 6.6/10 is above average and this is pretty much a horror version of Solaris mix in with Disney’s The Black Hole.

    1. Yeah, Pandorum was ok, but out of the two I definitely prefer Event Horizon. Although neither are great they do provide enough entertainment to kill a few hours.

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