Title: Event Horizon
Year of Release: 1997
Date Viewed: January 16th, 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Humans have come a long way from their naive beginning. Thanks to evolving brains and advancement in scientific research, we have a clearer understanding of our universe now more than ever. Everything from the way our minds work to how long it takes for Neptune to orbit the Sun can be accurately measured through rational terms. But knowledge only goes as far as our longest journey. The question that fuels the mind of all astronomers is "What is beyond that?" As far it can be seen, space has no end. Whatever lies beyond the farthest known galaxy has yet to be explored by mankind. If it can't be explored, it can't be understood. And that is why imagination, just like space, has no limit.
Event Horizon's story imagines what could exist beyond the maps. Furthermore, it explores the possibility that we may be closer connected to this unknown realm than could ever be realized.
Set in the year 2047, we follow the crew of the Lewis and Clark spaceship. They have been sent on a mission from Earth to investigate the Event Horizon, a state of the art spaceship that had vanished near Neptune seven years prior and has now re-emerged in the same general area. Other than a vague distress call, there are no clues as to why the ship and its crew had disappeared. Leading the investigation is Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) and the assortment of engineers under his command. Accompanying the crew is Doctor William Weir (Sam Neill), the original designer of the Event Horizon. Weir reveals that the ship's purpose was to utilize a prototype gravity drive designed to create its own "black hole", which would serve as a gateway to faster space travel.
Soon after reaching their destination, an accident damages the Lewis and Clark's means of travel. The crew takes refuge inside the Event Horizon until the ship can be repaired. Once there, each crew member encounters personalized perils and hallucinations related to their deepest fears. The only thing worse than confronting the fear is discovering who or what could be controlling it.
The cheesy opening sequence almost does a disservice to the rest of the film. A stage is set for a visual spectacle but it's far more intelligent than that. It's really a ruse to keep the audience at ease for preparation into this dark twisted prediction of what lies beyond our boundaries..
There was a correlation with the characters' increasing paranoia and my personal unease while watching. In a way, the effect mismatches the setting. There's a high volume of interior space that somehow causes a sense of claustrophobia. A similar effect can be felt in Ridley Scott's Alien, except there is no creature or slasher out to pick off the characters one by one. The only remaining detail I wish to discuss about the plot is that it involves a higher power, its range depending on the strength of mind. There is just enough hints to offer fair conclusions on what this mysterious force could be and just the right amount of ambiguity to leave you thinking about it long after it's over. Truth be told, I didn't sleep perfectly the night I viewed this film.
The pacing couldn't have been much better. When this "power" begins its big push to engulf these characters in fear, it's a series of adrenaline rushes, each one stronger than the last. The movie's depiction of dark despair rivals the vision of some Renaissance artists.
Sam Neill's character is by far the most interesting one. His unpredictable nature is the other big driving force for this story. Most of the others however are formulaic. You're got the usual fearless leader (Laurence Fishburne doing what he does best), the guy with a chip on his shoulder and the guy that always knows the right funny line to say at the right time. Carbon copy characters have no place in psychological thrillers like these.
Despite this weak link, the film manages to hold together really well. The final act is breathtaking. When the credits rolled, it felt like waking from a nightmare; the kind you couldn't wait to tell your friends about.