Event Horizon

on August 15, 1997 by Christine James
The Event Horizon is a deep-space research vessel sent in the year 2040 to explore the boundaries of the solar system, only to disappear without a trace. Seven years later, a distress call is received from the missing ship, which has suddenly reemerged near Neptune. A team is sent to rescue any survivors and salvage the vessel--but what they don't know is that the craft now carries an unseen alien entity that is pure evil. Unfortunately, the scariest thing about this sci-fi/horror film will be its abysmal boxoffice receipts after word of mouth makes this film a non-"Event." An uncompelling cast makes up the brash, mostly unsympathetic team of misfits who seem not at all qualified for the mission at hand. Laurence Fishburne as the crew leader is positively somnambulistic even at peak moments of crisis and terror. The "terror" itself is the worst offender; at one point, the protagonists are told that they couldn't imagine the horrors their invisible enemy has in store, though when we are shown fragmentary split-second glimpses the atrocities basically seem to involve barbed wire, blood and maggots. Not pleasant, certainly, but not exactly innovative either for a scenario set 50 years in the future and at the edge of the galaxy. The twists and turns are derivative and sometimes out-and-out imitative of many of the more overdone elements of horror schlock fare that even cable's campy "Tales From the Crypt" would be embarrassed to use. (Particularly egregious is the trite "It knows my deepest fear and is making it manifest" construct.) Scripter Philip Eisner begins with an intriguing premise overflowing with potential, with promising mysteries of deep space, futuristic technology, extraterrestrials and parapsychology, but his screenplay does not follow through on a single one of these components, instead relying on implied horrors he's not imaginative enough to think up and blood-and-gore scare tactics that are more yawn-inducing than pulse-racing. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson. Directed by Paul Anderson. Written by Philip Eisner. Produced by Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin. A Paramount release. SF/horror. Rated R for strong violence and gore, language and some nudity. Running time: 96 min
Tags: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Directed by Paul Anderson, Written by Philip Eisner, Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, A Paramount release, SF/horror, deep space, extraterrestrials, horros, blood gore, solar system

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