Plot: What’s it about?
With the surprise success of Mortal Kombat, director Paul W.S. Anderson found himself in quite a peculiar situation – he was getting offers left and right to direct movies. Fans might remember Anderson mainly for his work with the Resident Evil series (not all films, but several). Paramount had dictated that they wanted a science-fiction horror movie to fill their summer lineup. A little-known film by the name of Titanic, had been pushed back due to delays thereby creating an opening. Anderson passed on several other projects to direct this – essentially in the vein of Alien, the grandaddy of all science-fiction horror movies.
The film follows the crew of the Lewis and Clark; they’re tasked to find down the titular ship (the Event Horizon) which had disappeared seven years prior and finally resurfaced near Neptune. Led by Capt. Miller (Laurence Fishburne), the team consisting of Lt. Starck (Joley Richardson), Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), Cooper (Richard T. Jones), D.J. (Jason Isaacs), Smith (Sean Pertwee) and Justin (Jack Noseworthy). Lastly we have the scientist, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), the designer of the Event Horizon ship. He’s been brought along to determine what happened to the ship as well as the crew inside. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and, well, you connect the dots.
I remember seeing this in theaters and it’s hard to believe that was a quarter of a century ago. The summer of 1997 was known for films like Air Force One and Men in Black. Event Horizon wasn’t the most critically-acclaimed film out there and financially it didn’t even make back half of it’s $60 million dollar budget. Looking back on the film, it didn’t really break any new ground. The whole “large crew that starts getting picked off one by one” is, for all intents and purposes, Horror Movies 101. Granted, there are some disturbing scenes, but also those that really didn’t make much sense – reportedly the shot of Sam Neil in the spaceship ate up a majority of the film’s budget and only lasted 45 seconds. At any rate, this film does have an audience, and I think it’s a bit of a cult classic now, but there are far better science-fiction horror films out there.
Video: How does it look?
I remember first watching this on LaserDisc. Yes, you read that right. There was the obligatory DVD and later on the Blu-ray. This 25th Anniversary Edition gives us the film in its first 4K incarnation. First off, the movie takes place primarily in space so we can expect a lot of blacks and shadows. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image has bumped the detail to razor sharp levels and contrast is amazing. As mentioned, the blacks are so dark and deep with no grain or artifacting in the least. Flesh tones look a bit distorted, but then again they weren’t exactly shot in “natural light” so it was expected. The HDR really does improve the visual aspects of the film, giving us deeper, darker blacks and shadows. It’s an interesting-looking film for sure, and it’s never looked better.
Audio: How does it sound?
File this under “opportunity missed” as we get the same Dolby TrueHD track found on the previously-released Blu-ray. There are plenty of explosions to take note of, and everything is space makes some sort of noise. I remember the coolant that was floating in zero gravity that made a “drop” sound when touched and it was a contrast to the bombs that go off at the end of the movie. Dialogue is clear and clean and at the very least, your subwoofer will get a workout. I compared some of the scenes from the standard DVD to the TrueHD track on this disc (no Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included on this disc, well in English anyway) and there is a definite difference to be heard. Event Horizon once delivers on the audio front.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Shout!Factory got their hands on this title a few years ago and produced some new supplements for it. I never reviewed that disc, so I’m not sure what, if anything, made the cut from that disc to this one. But there’s no shortage of material, so let’s get started.
- Audio Commentary – This is the same track that’s been around for years featuring Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt who do their best to give us the ins and outs of the shoot, the production design and the casting process. It’s a good track that reflects on the movie in hindsight.
- The Making of Event Horizon – Broken up into five segments, this is a fairly all-inclusive look at the, you guessed it, making of the film.
- Into the Jaws of Darkness
- The Body of the Beast
- Liberate Tuteme Ex Infernis (Latin for “Save Yourself from Hell”)
- The Scale to Hell
- The Womb of Fear
- The Point of No Return: The Filming of Event Horizon – Essentially more of the same in the vein of the above feature. Optional commentary by Paul W.S. Anderson is available.
- The Revolving Corridor
- The Crew Gathers
- Shooting Wire Work
- The Dark Inside
- Secrets – This is a fancy way of saying “Deleted and Extended Scenes”, all of which have optional commentary by Anderson.
- Briefing Scene (Deleted)
- Medical Bay (Extended)
- Burning Man Confrontation (Extended)
- The Unseen Event Horizon – We’re not done yet! We get two more segments, each with optional commentary by Anderson.
- The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene
- Conceptual Art
The Bottom Line
I’ve wanted to like this movie for years, but something about it always held me back. I don’t dislike it, but there are so many others out there that truly scare me that this one seems wasted. Again, as I mentioned above, I know this has an audience that’s grown from its initial release. Paramount’s new edition has made the film the best it’s ever looked and it’s packed with supplements. A Dolby Atmos track would have sweetened the deal, for sure, but we can’t always get what we want – can we?