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IN SHORT: A very cool looking SF thriller, but it's manipulative and derivative.
Event Horizon may have yearned to be a horror flick in the classic Hitchcock mode, since by now we're all used to horror flicks with regulation macro body piercings and slice 'n' dicings. Short of ripping a couple of pair of eyeballs out, Event Horizon fails on the macro piercings front, so we'll relegate it to thriller and leave it at that.
Right off the bat I'll tell you that this is not Cranky's favorite type of flick (though I do love a good non-slice n dice SF story) so I lugged along a fellow eDriver, Trent Haaga, who revels in this stuff. His review is a couple of graphs down. Never let it be said that Cranky ain't fair.
"Event Horizon" was the christened name of the first faster than light spaceship, based on similar technology to that which sent solo scientist Jodie Foster out into the stars earlier this summer. (Let's get it out of the way quickly; the production time required for movies like these is way to long for there to have been a direct cop. Contact's engine was based on current scientific theory, so let's say minds think alike and move on.) After launch, somewhere on the other side of Neptune, the ship vanished and was never heard from again.
Until seven years later. A team of rescue-nauts, led by Laurence Fishburne takes EH designer Sam Neill on a trip to the far side of the solar system, where the empty ship waits. Various body parts are pasted along the walls of the darkened ship -- we see 'em, the rescuers don't -- and things tend to get real interesting as the living crew is trapped among the remains of the dead.
What is waiting in the wings is an engine compartment lined with very large, very sharp and pointy potentially body piercing thingies. Right off the bat we discover that somewhere inside the engine is a link to another dimension filled with nasty stuff. All well and good.
What Event Horizon falls back on is the jolt in the chair by getting VERY LOUD after being very quiet for a long time. Composer Michael Kamen aids this process with his score. It's a basic by the book manipulation, and it works fine the first couple of times it shows up. It's overused.
Our rescue-nauts begin to suspect that something ain't kosher with the abandoned ship. Previously suppressed fears become dangerously real, but they're nothing compared to what you've come to expect. The living begin to think that the ship is alive and trying to kill them. They run perilously through darkened corridors and are continually drawn back towards the engine room and those large pointy things. You wait for the body piercing...
Which is fine by me, since I prefer the anticipation to the gore. But if you're gonna imply it's coming, you may as well go whole hog.
Then again, I'm an old fogey. Herewith the opinions of my co- worker (and half my age, so he's no fogey) Trent Haaga, an aficionado of the genre. Trent?
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Event Horizon, he would have paid . . .
Trent's rating was $5, too. We hit it for different reasons, though.
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