Event Horizon Review
Written by: azathoth
This is a film I really, really like. When I first saw it in the theatre, I knew little about it except it was supposed to be a spooky ship in space. Cool. And yes, it was very cool, not to mention spooky and jumpy. Of course I got it on DVD, but then I started to notice some things about the movie, things which irritate me on repeated viewings. Being an engineer, I have some knowledge of science and, well, engineering.
So I am going to do this review in 2 parts- the first being the standard review, and then part 2 I'm gonna rip the movie to shreds bit by bit (WITH SPOILERS). Remember, I like this movie, but I dropped 2 points off it for the annoyances. Call me whiny, pedantic, silly. It's my review, and on top of all this they couldn't throw in an evil monkey?!?! Even "Mother of Tears" has an evil monkey!
Alrighty, here is the basic review. In the future, a scientist (Sam Neill, aka 'Mad Scientist') creates a big space ship called the 'Event Horizon' (the 'EH'), most likely becuase its warp-drive is based on a black hole. Said ship goes out on its first mission and disappears for 7 years. At some point during this interval the Mad Scientist's wife commits suicide, which is still haunting him. He has continuing nightmares about her.
Guess what? The ship shows up in orbit around Neptune and a search and rescue (SAR) ship is dispatched to see if there are any survivors. Interesting name for the SAR ship, the 'Lewis and Clark' (the 'L&C'). They were more explorer types, but I guess it beats the 'Kevin Costner'. They take Mr. Mad Scientist with them for some reason. Really, either the crew is alive or they are dead. Shouldn't there be controls on the bridge that say 'Forward' and 'Backward' and such? You have to bring a brainy quantum physicist with you? Anyway, off to Neptune.
Once they arrive, they get no voice response from the radio, but do get a lot of strange lifesign readings. The Captain (Laurence Fishburn, aka 'Cap'n') decides they need to go investigate. The EH is a total mess, complete with random body parts strewn about. The EH's crew's log is jumbled but still disturbing. After getting the EH up to minimal running standards, the L&C has a mechanical failure (well, sort of, but I'm not telling), causing the entire crew to move to the EH. The crew starts having strange hallucinations and dreams, and one member is incapacitated. The weirdness keeps ramping up, as does the disturbing nature of the log as they slowly decode it. Would it really be a spoiler if I told you people begin to die? Yeah, didn't think so.
Eventually the reasons behind all this is revealed, which is a weird combination of "Hellraiser" and either "2001" or the "Matrix". Or maybe it's Trenton, NJ. Hard to tell. Don't forget about the last-second twist scare.
This is a spooky and gorey film. The atmosphere builds as the crew keeps seeing increasingly weird and horrifying images, and the EH is big enough that they actually have to split up. Well, they could stay together but circumstances mostly prevent it. The gore is largely shown quickly, so you'll need to slo-mo your DVD to catch all of it in its greatness. There is some serious graphic images here. Below I go into detail about the reasons I have some issues with the movie, but they probably won't bother 95% of you. I would recommend a buy for sci-fi/horror buffs with a strong stomach for jump scares, evil atmosphere, and graphic images. Others should at least rent it first to make sure they can handle it.
******** Part 2 of "Event Horizon" *********
******* This entire section is a spoiler **********
Assuming you've read the above, you know the basics of the story. Now I go 'Gymkata' on the movie. This will probably be long, so gird your loins. I will just go through the movie and point out the stuff that bugged me.
Right off the bat, why do they put wings on spaceships in movies? Bad CGI of floating objects.
Does anyone really think that in 50 years personal quarters on a space station will be that big. Even with rotation and/or artificial gravity, do you really want an entire bathtub of water to suddenly be floating in air in case of an accident? Notice how many parts of the station are only connected by struts? Very convienent.
Now to the L&C ship. The cap'n's chair is hooked up from above and swings all over the place. Looks cool, but is completely stupid. There is a chain-link ladder connecting decks through hatches. Brilliant, very sturdy. I love the semi-exposed fans running in the ceiling, that would never cause a problem.
I must admit that the female members of the crew getting ready for hibernation or whatever they call it provide nice eye candy. My Vampire Wife tells me the guys aren't bad, either. Notice the masks that go over the crews' faces in the chambers. They appear to just be stuck on, no straps around the head to hold them in place. I use a CPAP machine (one of those air pushing devices to prevent sleep apnea), and my mask has a whole Hanibal Lecture device to keep it seated properly. I'm just sleeping, yet those masks are going to handle 30Gs of acceleration and not slip?
Now we're at the EH. The airlock mechanism looks like something out of the 'Resident Evil' games- way too fancy. Maybe the Swiss built the ship?
At this point, I have read other reviews that posit that since the ship can do all kinds of wacky things, that could explain some of the wrongness I found in the movie. Such as the floating lubricant liquids not being spherical. Ok, I'll roll with some of that, but others don't get a pass.
We have a contained black hole as the dimensional jump drive. Alright. Except how does 'Baby Bear' get pulled back out of it? You know, the whole "even light can't escape" part about black holes? Nice explanation about the carnival-like corridor leading to the drive. Rotating razor discs contain magnetic fields? Ever heard of a Faraday cage? Less sexy, I suppose. And a door that has spikes on its edges- I'm just surprised they didn't use it to cut someone in half. I really was waiting for that after I first saw that door. Jerks. Why do the 3 gyroscopes around the black hole need to have lights? Why does the black hole blast out light when it turns on? I know all the intricate and spikey details in the room make it look scary, but a clean white room with just plain gyroscopes and the hole probably would have worked better for me. Evil in a high tech world, not some re-creating of a futuristic Dante. To each his own on that one. Later on when repairing some damage in the engine room, we see the access passage to the damaged board. What enigneer would design something like that?! I know it's all for effect, but the first thing I thought was "If someone gave me those blueprints, I'd pee on them."
Now to ship stuff. Remember the part where they turn on the gravity and the one corpse falls and explodes, like it was dipped into liquid nitrogen? That's pretty cold, like -200 Farenheight. Now remember the floating liquid lubricant? There is no liquid that can exist at both normal operating temperatures and at -200 degrees. When the L&C gets damaged, the crew evacuates to the EH. They haven't been there very long, yet when they get over there, in the next scene, everyone is wearing normal clothes. How much time do you think it would take to raise the temperature of a ship that size from liquid nitrogen to beach weather? Did they bring along portable fusion heaters? What is up with the laser light show the first people over to the EH use?
From here on out it's mostly the psychological freakiness going on. I can handle people having hallucinations- it's stressful and some weird things have happened. However, these are SAR folk. SAR is tough, probably coming after special forces type tough. But come on, you chase what you think is your little boy around until you fall to your death? Has your brain completely melted. You know he's 80 billion miles away and he didn't stowaway or hitchhike to the outer solar system. I'd be fine if the kid was carrying a towel, at least that could explain his presence (5 points for those get that reference).
I do have to say the airlock depressurization was done well. The effects of the depressurization were close, and the advice Cap'n gave was correct. I was impressed by that (like you care :) )
There were other things, but I wasn't going to spend another 90 minutes to catch them all. You may think I'm nuts, but I'm a sciency-type guy. If I had a degree in, say, French literature, I would probably be all peachy keen.
This was a good film, my previous rants aside. Spooky, atmospheric, violent. Just no monkeys. Give it a watch.