When movies are totally re-arranged and turned inside-out in the editing room, they are usually terrific flops that become notorious among studio execs (Heaven's Gate, Spawn, Disturbing Behavior, Supernova). But sometimes a film has to go through this process to maintain a certain pace, or prevent the audience from getting bored.

This is obviously the case here, as the film is way too inspired for the end result to be intentional. Horror movies should be exploitational and offensive. Some images in Event Horizon may be shocking, but the final result musters little in either area.

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Doctor Weir (Sam Neill) has invented a spacecraft, called the Event Horizon, that can create a black hole and teleport to unimaginable parts of the unknown universe. The ship disappears for seven years and then suddenly shows up, orbiting Neptune.

It is for Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) and his crew to salvage the vessel and save whoever may be left of the crew. But upon arrival, they discover the ship is alive and the crew are very much DEAD.

Director, Paul Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Soldier), uses a fair amount of Catholic imagery and does a good job turning the Event Horizon into a haunted house in space (lightning courtesy of Neptune's atmosphere) and the visual effects are flawless and outstanding. But it all seems too much for too little.

The premise of the ship being "alive" is too vague and unsatisfying. We never find out what the evil really is and what it's intentions are. Doctor Weir shows us brief flashes of Dark Ages-style torture and maggots and stuff, but little sense is made. For a film that tries hard on all levels, to fall short only in the story department arouses suspicion.

Miller constantly informs his crew how many hours of breathable air are left. Time seems to elapse very quickly with no occurrences taking place. Is this where the cuts were made?

It's hard not to feel cheated by the ending, as it leaves plot threads hanging. No way was this the writer's intention. There has been a lot taken from this film they didn't want us to see. The tagline reads, "Infinite Space, Infinite Terror". There are also infinite possibilities, none of which are exploited.

In case you're wondering, an event horizon is the last traces of light around the whirlpool of a black hole before it is sucked inside.

Reviewed on: 28 Jun 2001
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Event Horizon packshot
Deep space rescue mission crew are tormented by evil from another dimension.
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Director: Paul W S Anderson

Writer: Philip Eisner

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Sean Pertwee

Year: 1997

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US/UK

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