Thursday, October 02, 2008
Event Horizon (1997) ***1/2
The Event Horizon is a mix of Sci-Fi and Horror. There was a lot of room for this to be a disaster, it misses the mark a few times, but in general I have always really liked it.
The story follows the crew of a space salvage vessel "The Lewis and Clark" in 2047. They are pulled off leave to go into deep space with a scientist Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) on a salvage mission. After coming out of suspended animation, during which Weir has some disturbing visions, the crew learns they are assigned to salvage the experimental ship "Event Horizon" which had disappeared on her maiden voyage 7 years earlier. They learn from Weir that he invented a new drive system for the EH that allowed the ship to bend space/time and travel faster than the speed of light from one place to another.
The crew of the ship reads like a blueprint of every space, ship, or combat team movie you have ever seen. The captain (Laurence Fishburne at his melodramatic best) is serious and makes his rag-tag crew tow the line. There is the wisecracking black man, the beautiful and strong women officer, the tough and mean crewmember, the young man everyone looks out for...yada, yada, yada. Although we have seen them all before, the characters don't come across hackneyed or cookie-cutter.
Anyway, they arrive at the ship, and come across some transmissions from the lost crew. One transmission is translated from Latin by the doctor as, "Save me”, later when the shit is going down, he realizes his Latin is rusty and it actually says "Save yourself." The entire mood of the ship EH is what makes the movie creepy. Everyone on board feels ill at ease, and a few start to have visions of horrible events straight out of their worst memories. The cool touch here, is that they could have tried to jam the visions down our throat by giving them to each crewmember, and they don't. Only a select few are having them, the rest just feel "something" but can't define it.
The special effects are limited, and probably on par with most productions from the late nineties. I hesitate to describe the events that occur during the movie, because I don't want to spoil the "build" the tension has if you haven't seen it yet. Suffice it to say that things don't go well, starting with a hull breach on the savage vessel that forces the crew to seek shelter on the EV.
I like the dark mood of this one, and tactically I like the fact that there is little time discussing why "this can't be happening" amongst the crew. They make good tactical decisions, the way an experienced crew that was comfortable with their roles and each other would...not that it helps. Always a fun watch.