“A Ship that is Alive, A Ship that knows your Secrets, A Ship that knows your Fears. A Ship that won’t let you leave.”
“Space is Vast, Quite, Scary and Deadly, and Event Horizon shows it. In the case of this film there is something to be said about how the scariest aspect of the film is just how lonely and dangerous space is, I mean these characters are literally lost in an endless void, absent from the world, they’re familiar with while the urgency of carbon monoxide poisoning and the shocking decompression sequence reminds us that safety is completely non-existent in this film”
Event Horizon is pinnacle 90 schlock, it’s not a movie that was created with a massive budget but neither does it come in the class of B-Class movies. However, with whatever the producers had, they did create something that was sure to become a classic.
We noticed early in the film how it takes itself seriously enough to make for an unintentionally awkward experience at times as many horror fans know this is not the movie it was meant to be.
After coming off the success of his Mortal Kombat adaptation Paul WS Anderson turned his attention to making this intense provocative and relatively ambitious horror movie only for it to be so intense provocative and relatively ambitious that paramount forced Anderson to cut a less graphic version.
Instead, resulting in the movie allegedly losing a significant amount of narrative context and what we’re left with is nowhere near as hyperbolically shocking or violent to warrant such a considerable reputation but despite being a failure for its time, both critically and commercially, it developed a very enthusiastic cult following and even became surprisingly influential on many creative properties such as dead space.
We explore where did both the popularity and infamy lie with what has been dubbed by the internet as one of the scariest or most disturbing movies of all time because that’s the place you go to if you want to trust a perspective on a movie.
Event Horizon’s biggest crime isn’t so much that it’s rather nonsensical because it’s filled with things Anderson thinks are cool as opposed to adding substance or value it’s just that it’s really blank at points.
The fact that you really do sense that there is something incomplete about the whole thing strangely adds to the allure of the entire film going in without any knowledge of the story. I couldn’t help but feel a persistent discomfort looming throats and most of that falls on the shoulders of a doctor.
We’re played by Sam Neill who is trying to add an emotional dimension to the story, even if it isn’t entirely fulfilled due to the incompleteness of the film production that discomfort I felt was a direct result of a weird sense of displacement amongst the crew of the Lewis and Clark right from the beginning.
There is something inexplicable about him that’s only further compounded by his eye caste status amongst the crew of blue-collar workers who seem to mock his intelligence as a scientist. First of all, you must understand eventually this all becomes what I think is a clever misdirection, where he’s established as the stranger by the crew, yet the film manipulates you into believing he’s the me and protagonist.
It’s Captain Miller who becomes our troubled hero but we spend so much of the first act in Weir’s lonely shoes that the impression we get of him is purely sympathetic yet still relatively ambiguous.
I expected the film to go one of two routes by either positioning him as the sole victim consumed by madness or the madness being his unmasking which ultimately seems to be the case from my interpretation. In either case, it’s the only genuine element of the story that’s properly Lovecraftian.
I know we get caught up on the whole cosmic transcendent horror thing but really at the heart of it Lovecraft was more about alienation and feeling alone and isolated in a world that never truly makes sense because well that’s kind of what the real world is like from a cynical perspective.
I mean being on the internet and putting my thoughts out here like this is my own personal crafting nightmare but life goes on and we all die one day. And so, I digress I think we’re characterizing Miller’s character and the perception we have of both men.
For me it starts out as likable but takes a pretty inorganic but understandable turn to villainy but Miller starts out as pretty unlikable due to his extreme hostility. Miller pretty much uses his natural instincts to combat Weir’s growing manipulative intellect.
With Miller, that hostility breeds a negative perception but really he’s taking on the burden of his crew’s frustrations for working a job they don’t want and simply does things out of the care and looks after the office crew. And that makes sense because he’s also carrying the guilt of abandoning one of his former crew members in a previous mission that led to their death so his sacrifice at the end is extremely noble.
Considering he symbolically submits himself to hell to see if his crew even if it is a three out of six victory anyway there is one way we can contextualize this film and that’s considering how the event horizon is the direct manifestation of their fears using one of Anderson’s key artistic influences.
In Event Horizon I feel the idea is less about the afterlife and Hell itself, and more about the pure fear of the unknown. Especially in regards to what we human comprehend and like I said Anderson likes filling his movies with cool things as opposed to elements that benefit the story, and really the hell aspects are dare I said the mostest interesting part of the film when they aren’t given the same levity as other things.
Given the crew are disgruntled over being forced into an expedition makes it seem like they were pre-selected by whatever madness exists in the realm of the film to be victims to the ship.
Especially considering there’s very little context to the events prior to the film’s opening that makes everything all the more sudden and abnormal as if we’re in a constant dreamlike state and it’s only further reinforced by the ominous ending which makes the survivors feel even more false.
What helps is that we describe the Event Horizon as simply pure chaos and the fact that the crew described the core as a meat grinder further adds to the complexity of it at this point, all the logical and scientific justification Weir has given the characters on gravity interdimensional travel and so on is completely disregarded when faced with something totally inconceivable like with the context implied with Bosh’s work.
We might have a pretty clear vision as to what heaven is but Hell itself continues to be indescribable and if anything filled with contradictions and paradoxes that make understanding it futile but in a grinded sense that unknowingness and uncertainty is already characterized by how little we truly understand about our own planet.
And as I come to the end of this I do start to see where there is an underlying thematic presence in the film that’s, unfortunately, more butchered than the crew of the Lewis and Clark.
It’s honestly lucky we even got a film, let alone one that’s at least partially coherent for a film that has a mature influence in pop culture despite being a disastrous production, you can tell there was a compelling concept that captured people’s attention.
Anderson was clearly very proud of it and that just makes it all the more tragic you can tell this was truly a sincere passion project and even if I’m not on the same boat of calling it some troubled masterpiece at least I can say with some patience it isn’t all B.S.
Let us know what you think of the film in the comment section below, did you like it? Or straight out turned it off in 10 minutes? Let us know below.