Event Horizon is a 1997 science fantasy 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.
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 between astronomical distances.
Upon arriving at the ship’s decaying orbit around planet Neptune and boarding the Event Horizon to search for survivors, the crew finds evidence of a massacre, and Justin is pulled through the gravity drive’s core, returning in a catatonic state. He’s later placed in stasis after a failed suicide attempt in apprehension over the events he witnessed during his crossover. The crew begins to experience hallucinations of their fears and regrets: Miller sees a subordinate 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 Weir as “a dimension of pure chaos, pure evil.” In various manners throughout the film, this other dimension is heavily implied to actually be Hell itself. The Event Horizon has since then returned with an evil presence and a life force possessing telekinetic abilities, tormenting its occupants with the aim of compelling them to return.
Miller decides to destroy the Event Horizon despite objections from Weir, who is seduced and eventually possessed by the evil presence and uses an explosive device from the Event Horizon to destroy the Clark. Smith is killed in the explosion, and Cooper is thrown into space. Peters dies from a long fall after being lured into the engineering section of the Event Horizon by an apparition of her son. Weir kills D.J. by vivisecting him and corners Starck on the bridge. Miller tries to rescue Starck but is caught by Weir, who activates the ship’s gravity drive, initiating a ten minute countdown after which the Event Horizon and its passengers will return to Hell. Cooper, having used his space suit’s oxygen to propel him back to the ship, tries to contact those inside, and Weir retaliates by shooting out the bridge window. 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’s attacked by the ship’s manifestation of a scarred Dr. Weir, who shows Miller horrifying visions of the 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. Starck has a nightmare of the scarred Dr. Weir being one of the rescuers, and is awakened in a distraught state by a rescue team. Cooper restrains Starck, and one of the rescuers calls for a sedative as the doors to the stasis room ominously seem to close by themselves.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:
First Published: Dec 23, 2011 – Last Updated: Dec 31, 2012