Hell Of A Ride
by Brody Rossiter
As so often is the case with space-bound cinema, the unknown void which exists beyond the atmosphere of our seemingly inconsequential planet acts as a proving grounds of sorts for the human spirit. Paul W.S. Anderson’s, Event Horizon possesses the premise of a rescue crew being sent to investigate a “dead” ship. You’re probably aware of the somewhat formulaic thrill ride you’re in for – it’s essentially a Lovecraftian riff on Ridley Scott’s Alien. However, as the ship begins to turn on its new arrivals and their numbers begin to dwindle, the gruesome shocks and scares come thick and fast, and thankfully a solid cast including Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, and Jason Isaacs are more than capable of selling the conveyor belt of futuristic horrors.
Despite being released in 1997, the film’s striking aesthetic remains potent and impactful. Yes, the CGI has an overly shiny artificialness at certain points, but overall, the grimy, industrial space aesthetic is immersive and the Hellraiser-esque S&M gore is both shocking and deeply unsettling – much of Anderson’s most extreme footage was cut due to test audience reactions but is available on YouTube in all its low quality VHS glory.
Event Horizon was both a critical and commercial failure upon release, but today it undoubtedly remains an influential and distressing picture that plunders fine sci-fi material to unique effect. It’s also arguably Anderson’s best work alongside the first Resident Evil picture, and a work that is definitely worthy of horror sci-fi fans’ time.
Space in all its desolate beauty is often a perfect backdrop for revelatory, human self-discovery, Event Horizon reveals that there’s always the off-chance that you might accidentally discover a gate to Hell amongst its unfathomable expanses. In conclusion: I’m staying on Earth.