Event Horizon, 1997. Magnum Opus or Monstrosity?


I guess the title of this review is a little overdramatic, but I wasn’t aware that this film was so divisive among film fans. Okay, I do know that Red Letter Media had a dig at it and knowing their fans, they would be soon out with their pitchforks after that review. However, I guess that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. I can understand why it has some negativity, but there are more important things in life to be thinking of. Event Horizon didn’t have the best start by losing money at the box office. The budget for the film was around $60 million, and it only managed to bring in $45 million. So, it was a flop, whoop-de-doo! Actually, most of my favourite films did abysmally at the box office, so that means very little to me. However, I do feel sorry for everyone involved in making the film, but I do love it when a film becomes a cult classic after a disappointing start to life. Plus, Paramount only had themselves to blame for rushing the completion of the film, to the director’s dismay.


Actually, I don’t know much about Paul W.S. Anderson. I do remember watching Alien Vs Predator at some point, but who didn’t? Resident Evil was never my thing, but I have heard that Death Race is worth a watch. The thing is, Event Horizon is just one of those films that I have always admired. I say admired because I may have watched it three times since its release, and one of those times, it didn’t resonate too well with me. However, the fourth time was a unique experience in many ways. Believe it or not, I do think I am starting to understand the filmmaking process in more detail since starting this site. I am aware there is a lengthy documentary about the making of the film. However, I’m saving that for myself. That sounds selfish, but I love learning more about a film, once I have finished discussing it.

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I think I have only just realised this, but I am pretty obsessed with the isolation of space. I definitely know it started with Alien, 1979. As a child, I vividly remember closing the curtains on a hot summer day to help create the environment of the Nostromo while watching the film. In literature, there was nothing better than reading A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaiken in bed on a dark and cold winter night. Something I have mentioned on this site that blew my imagination apart was Journey into Space, 1953. A BBC Radio science-fiction program that took its listeners to the stars before humanity had even reached the Moon. Even my favourite Joy Division song is called Isolation. I am not sure all this is more about my mental health than enjoyment, but I’m not the only person that feels this way? Look at the success of 2001 A Space Odyssey, The Expanse and many other films, television shows and books that are still coming out of the content-creating machine. However, I suppose I should get back to Event Horizon, and it’s no wonder that I was instantly attracted to this film.


I think it is easy to point out that Event Horizon is similar to Alien, but there is a lot more to be found in this film. Remember the 80’s? VHS video tapes and Hellraiser? I do, and I think I am lucky to have watched it at an early age. There was nothing as gruesome, gory and highly fascinating about Clive Barker’s 1987 film. Hellraiser feels like a moment when horror moved up a notch on what was possible on camera. Event Horizon reminds me of that film in all its glorious fashion. However, instead of a mystical puzzle box, something far more realistic and terrifying is used to open a door to hell.

A distress signal is received from the Event Horizon seven years after it went missing. The ship’s designer, William Wier Sam Neill is tasked with bringing the ship back home. On board the rescue vessel, Bill Wier informs Captain Miller Laurence Fishburne and his crew about the project. The Event Horizon was built to fold space and time, to travel from one point of the galaxy to another. In other words, they created a black hole.

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I think this is where the fear really works for this film. Space is still pretty unknown, but at night we can stare at its wonder. For centuries people have gazed upon the stars and searched for heavenly bodies. I think it’s a genius idea for a writer to think about space in a different manner. What if there are regions of space that we should avoid at all costs. Of course, this is all fantasy, but it sure is creepy.

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Another film it reminds me of is The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror masterpiece. I love that film and the director. Event Horizon shares the same cryptic moments and even has a river of blood. I said earlier that I had watched this film four times at least, but each time I walk away from it with a different perspective. Just like The Shining, the small moments are delivered in such a way, that you as a viewer can decide what is happening on screen. Both films remind me of those story books that help you create your own journey by turning to different pages throughout the narrative.


Do not go away just yet. I bet you are wondering why I am wrapping things up before I have begun to get started. The thing is, I have pages and pages of notes on this film, and I do not think I can fit it all into the 1500 words that I normally aim for. I feel like I have opened up a can of worms and hit my head on every root as I fall down another rabbit hole. First of all, let me say that I think Event Horizon is a great film indeed, a Magnus Opus as one would say. I will end this review, essay or whatever it is, with what I call the real tragedy of the film and something I never thought about before. Hopefully, by the end, you will decide my view of the film is wrong. I want you to have that reaction because that is what I think is so special about the film. However, I will be back to revisit the Event Horizon on my site because there are so many questions that I need to answer? Why did I originally think this film was directed by the Wachowskis? I get the Laurence Fishburne connection, but the song below reminds me of The Matrix, 1999. I also want to look at the lost footage, the beautiful practical effects, and the debatable CGI and a whole lot more. Just like The Shining, I think Event Horizon is ripe for the picking, and hopefully, there is someone out there doing the whole Room 237 thing on the film as we speak. If you are, then please contact me at talesfromtheneonbeach@protonmail.com because I would like to talk to other people who are enjoying the complexities of this film as well. However, it’s time to discuss Dr William Wier. 

The Tragedy.


I thought William Wier’s storyline was pretty simple, but I believe I was wrong. He just felt like a man who was determined to see his work with the Event Horizon fulfilled, at any cost. However, I see a different side to his character now. Once the crew are aboard the Event Horizon, the ship’s gravity drive activates, and things will never be the same again. First of all, I’m not 100% sure if any portal opened, and the crew were already amid evil once they entered the region around Neptune. However, it seems that whatever is surrounding the Event Horizon is attracted to the people who carry the most pain. Bill Wier was already haunted by the death of his wife before they reached their destination. In fact, aboard the Event Horizon, he says he can’t go through the scenario again, reliving the moment his wife killed herself. During his final hallucination, when his wife asks him to join him, and we never see the real Bill Wier again.


I think Bill Wier was so distraught with the death of his wife that he couldn’t process it properly. There is no back story to prove this, but I think that he was so preoccupied with his work that he neglected her when she needed him. I think he believed that if the Event Horizon became a success, it would somehow make amends for his failure. People process loss in many ways and guilt is a very difficult emotion to come to terms with. That’s the human condition right there, and that is the main story I take away from this film, and it’s pretty heartbreaking when you think about it.

Conclusion 2.0.

Thanks for making it this far . . . . this film is brimming with loads of other fascinating moments, and I think it is a superb film. There were a lot of things that went wrong with the production of this film, but was that a happy accident? Anyway, I enjoyed my time revisiting it and will be back soon. I’m off watching Songs of Praise, Adios Amigos!

Have you watched Event Horizon? What do you think of the film? Please let me know in the comments below. Again, thank you for visiting, it’s very much appreciated.

Beyond the Event Horizon.