Event Horizon (film)

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Event Horizon
Picture of spacecraft with the text "Infinite size, Infinite Terror"
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson
Produced by Lawrence Gordon
Lloyd Levin
Jeremy Bolt
Written by Philip Eisner
Andrew Kevin Walker
Music by
Cinematography Adrian Biddle
Edited by Martin Hunter
Paramount Pictures
Golar Productions
Impact Pictures
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • August 15, 1997 (1997-08-15) (United States)
  • August 22, 1997 (1997-08-22) (United Kingdom)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $60 million[1]
Box office $47,073,851[2]

Event Horizon is a 1997 American science fiction horror film. The screenplay was written by Philip Eisner (with an uncredited rewrite by Andrew Kevin Walker) and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. The film stars Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill. Despite negative reviews on release, it has been looked at in more positive light in recent years, and is considered a cult film.


In 2047, the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark is dispatched to answer a distress signal received from the Event Horizon, a starship that disappeared during its maiden voyage to Proxima Centauri seven years prior. Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) and his crew — Lieutenant Starck (Joely Richardson), pilot Smith (Sean Pertwee), Medical Technician Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), Engineer Ensign Justin (Jack Noseworthy), Rescue Technician Cooper (Richard T. Jones), and Trauma Doctor D.J. (Jason Isaacs) — are joined for the mission by the Event Horizon's designer Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill). Dr. Weir briefs the crew that the Event Horizon was built to test an experimental gravity drive, which generates an artificial black hole to use the immense gravitational power to bridge two points in spacetime, greatly reducing travel time over astronomical distances.

Upon arriving at the ship's decaying orbit around Neptune and boarding the Event Horizon to search for survivors, the crew finds evidence of a massacre. During the search, the ship's gravity drive activates automatically. Justin is pulled into the resulting portal, returning in a catatonic state. He is later placed in stasis after a failed suicide attempt in apprehension over the events he witnessed during his crossover. The activation of the gravity drive causes a massive shockwave which critically damages the Lewis and Clark and forces the entire crew to board the Event Horizon. The crew then begins experiencing hallucinations of their fears and regrets: Miller sees a subordinate, Corrick, he was forced to abandon in a fire; Peters sees images of her son Denny with his legs covered in bloody lesions; and Dr. Weir, a widower, sees his wife Claire with missing eyes, urging him to join her.

After deciphering a warning from a video log of the Event Horizon's crew going insane and mutilating each other, Miller and D.J. deduce that while the ship's gravity drive did successfully open a gateway in spacetime, it leapt outside the known universe and into another dimension, described later on by Dr. Weir as "a dimension of pure chaos, pure evil" (and implied to be Hell). The Event Horizon has since then gained an evil sentience and telepathic abilities, tormenting its occupants with the aim of compelling them to return to Hell.

Miller decides to destroy the Event Horizon despite objections from Dr. Weir, who is seduced and eventually possessed by the evil presence and uses an explosive device from the Event Horizon to destroy the Lewis and Clark. Smith is killed in the explosion which also launches Cooper from the ship and into space. Peters dies from a long fall after being lured into the engineering section by an apparition of her son. Dr. Weir kills D.J. by vivisecting him and corners Starck on the bridge. Miller tries to rescue Starck but is caught by Dr. Weir, who activates the ship's gravity drive, initiating a ten minute countdown after which the Event Horizon and its passengers will return to the other dimension. Cooper, having used his space suit's oxygen to propel him back to the ship, tries to contact those inside, and Dr. Weir retaliates by shooting out the bridge window. Dr. Weir is blown out into space by the ensuing decompression while Miller, Starck, and Cooper survive and manage to seal off the bridge area of the ship.

Miller then resolves to detonate the explosives installed on the Event Horizon to split the ship in two and use the forward section of the ship as a lifeboat. He is attacked by manifestations of Corrick and Dr. Weir, who shows Miller horrifying visions of the Lewis and Clark's crew being tortured and mutilated once they return to Hell. Miller fights off the manifestation and manages to detonate the explosives, sacrificing himself so Justin, Cooper and Starck can escape. The gravity drive activates, pulling the rear of the ship into a wormhole. Starck and Cooper join Justin in stasis and wait to be rescued.

72 days later, the Event Horizon is located by a rescue party who discover the remaining crew still in stasis. A newly-awakened Starck sees a nightmare image of the scarred Dr. Weir posing as one of the rescuers and explodes into a state of extreme terror. Cooper restrains Starck, and one of the rescuers calls for a sedative as the doors ominously close.



After directing the successful Mortal Kombat in 1995, Anderson was offered the job. The release date had already been set and Anderson agreed, despite that the deadline meant that the post-production period was severely reduced. On the commentary, Anderson cites this as the main cause for the many troubles faced during production and especially when Anderson was to make decisions on the final cut.[3]

In the commentary Anderson mentions the wish he had to direct an R rated picture after the PG-13 rated Mortal Kombat and also mentions that he turned down the opportunity to direct X-Men in order to make Event Horizon.[3]

Anderson said that his initial cut of the film, before the visual effects had been completed, ran to about 130 minutes in length. The film was even more graphic in this incarnation, and both test audiences and the studio were unnerved by the gore. Paramount ordered Anderson to cut the film by thirty minutes and delete some of the violence, a decision that he regrets. Some of the lost scenes were offered as special features on the 2006 DVD but were taken from poor quality video tape, the only format in which the scenes now exist; the studio had little interest in keeping unused footage and the film has since been lost.[3]

The original cut including the missing footage was reportedly found on VHS as announced in an interview by Paul W.S. Anderson when he was at ComicCon 2012.[4]


The film received generally negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 24% based on reviews from 37 critics.[5]

Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade of B-.[6]

Empire magazine gave the film a score of 3/5 stars.[7]

It was a box office flop, recouping only $47 million of its estimated $60 million production budget.[1][2]

In media[edit]

Trey Parker and Matt Stone cite the film as an inspiration for their Satan-worshipping woodland critters who engage in gory acts and orgies in the South Park episode "Woodland Critter Christmas".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Event Horizon - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Event Horizon at Boxoffice.com
  3. ^ a b c Special Edition DVD Commentary
  4. ^ UK Editor (28 August 2012). "Infinite Space, Infinite Terror: A 15th Anniversary Look Back at Event Horizon". Brutal As Hell. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  5. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/event_horizon/
  6. ^ Owen Gleiberman (Sep 5, 1997). "Event Horizon (1997)". Entertainment Weekly. 
  7. ^ http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/event-horizon
  8. ^ South Park Season 8 DVD Commentary, episode 814

External links[edit]