Event Horizon (18)

Directed by Paul Anderson
Starring Laurence Fishburn, Sam Neill, Joelly Richardson, Kathleen Quinlan, Jason Issacs

Made by the British team of director Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt, behing the low budget Shopping, this is a much bigger deal. A $50million sci-fi/horror flick with a top notch cast, and a fantastic look.
It is 2047, and we are with a salvage crew of the Lewis & Clark that are sent out to Neptune where an experimental space ship, the Event Horizon has turned up after mysteriously disappearing 7 years before. Sam Neill is the scientist who designed and built the ship, and he joins the crew led by Captain Miller(Fishburn). When they reach the ship, it is deserted and the crew no where, but there are nasty piles of blood and gore around, and messages and the ships log indicate that something VERY nasty happened. What follows is their attempt to work out what happened and to escape before the same fate befalls them.
This film looks brilliant thanks to some of the best designers around. The first half of the film is a facinating journey through space, and investigation af a stunning looking ship. The design of the engine core of the Event Horizon is a wierd gyroscope like affair, that is studded with metal spikes that make it look very ominously like a torture chamber! The rest of the huge space ship is claustrophobically creepy, or menacingly scary. The film is going brilliantly here, and Sam Neill's explanation of how they were trying to develop a ship that could travel faster than light is kind of plausible. However, once they are ON the Event Horizon, the plot gets a bit bogged down. The concept of what happened to the ship and previous crew is horribly creepy and scary, and the preliminary shocks and scares are right up there in the best tradition of hide-behind-your-hands. Having seen Alien, I made my guess near the start who would be the first to die, and who would survive the bloodbath. All I got right was the number of people to escape. The film is not at all predictable, but the climax is just a little unsatisfactory. Yes there is blood and guts galore, but the perpetrator's role was a bit unclear. How did they become the killer? The ship seemed to affect all the people, but the killer somehow became a part of the ship. However, a bit of mystery and convoluted plot is not always a bad thing. It gives you something to think about, and this film is worth the consideration.
All the cast do well, Fishburn makes a good leader, Neill is always good to watch. The women don't have the best of it. Kathleen Quinlan is a fine actress, but she is a bit underused, and Joelly Richardson is supposed to be the first officer yet is hardly in it. I get the feeling much of her role might have ended up on the cutting room floor. This isn't really an actors film, but the presence of a strong ensemble cast a la Alien, gives it a feeling of class.
Very scary with brief flashes of gore, this is a really good sci-fi thriller, especially the first half. Brilliant space ship sets and photography. A bit more work on the script might of helped in my opinion. A really creepy ending though. See if YOU can guess who survives! 8/10.

August 1997

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