Lovecraftian horror has historically been highly difficult to adapt on the big screen due to the demand the medium has to depict that which is incomprehensible. Despite this restriction, 1997’s Event Horizon somehow managed to bring the brooding and terrifying energy to life, utilizing a series of constructive and innovative techniques. Event Horizon is currently available to stream on Paramount+.
Event Horizon, streaming now on Paramount+, is a sci-fi twist on Lovecraftian horror.
After finding such massive commercial success with 1995’s Mortal Kombat, director Paul W.S. Anderson was given his pick of the litter when it comes to Hollywood screenplays. Opting not to helm the film’s sequel, Anderson chose a screenplay by Philip Eisner, which essentially served as a traditional haunted house story told through a lens of modern space travel. This screenplay would eventually serve as the basis for Event Horizon.
The film stars a number of A-list performers, including Sam Neil, fresh off his massive success from Jurassic Park, and Lawrence Fishburne just a few short years before he would star in the groundbreaking film The Matrix in 1999. Event Horizon also features performances from Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, and Holley Chant.
The science fiction film was mired by an incredibly difficult production schedule, with Paramount executives rushing the film’s post-production schedule in order to accommodate James Cameron, who had delayed the premiere of Titanic.
Despite many people hailing the film as a classic in the modern day, Event Horizon failed to impress critics at the time of its release. The film grossed only $42 million worldwide on an estimated production budget of roughly $60 million and currently holds a 34 percent critical score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.
According to Paul W.S. Anderson, Event Horizon‘s final set-piece of the film wound up being cut together from two separate unusable endings, which had to be adjusted in the final editing process.
Despite the film’s negative response at release, Event Horizon has garnered a cult following in recent years due to its ability to depict Lovecraftian horror better than most films ever have.
Event Horizon‘s plot centers around an eponymous starship that disappeared during an intergalactic voyage in the year 2047. A rescue vessel, titled the Lewis and Clark, is dispatched to search and rescue the crew, with Lawrence Fishburne’s Captain S.J. Miller at the head of the team. The engineer who originally designed the Event Horizon is also aboard the Lewis and Clark, offering insight into the ship’s experimental new technology.
The Event Horizon contains an experimental gravity drive that folds space-time as we know it, likely leading toward the ship’s untimely disappearance. All that seems to remain from the ship is a distress signal containing the shrieking cries for help from the stranded crew. When the Lewis and Clark team finally locate and board the ship, they find evidence of a horrific massacre, with bloody viscera strewn throughout the halls of the ship.
Despite many people hailing the film as a classic in the modern day, Event Horizon failed to impress critics at the time of its release.
After spending a short time on board the Event Horizon, the crew begins to experience disturbing hallucinations, seemingly tailored to their own specific fears and regrets in life.
A barely surviving crew member from the Event Horizon team manages to explain to the crew that the ship’s drive opened a gateway into a hellish dimension, causing the ship’s artificial intelligence to gain sentience and go to great lengths to drive the crew to madness. From there, the Lewis and Clark crew begin dropping like flies and engage in a high-stakes attempt to seal off the bridge before facing their certain demise.
The film’s rushed post-production schedule resulted in a number of scenes being cut from the final product, with many scenes eventually surfacing online and on behind-the-scenes looks on subsequent DVD releases. According to Paul W.S. Anderson, Event Horizon‘s final set-piece of the film wound up being cut together from two separate unusable endings, which had to be adjusted in the final editing process.
In the years since the film’s release, Paul W.S. Anderson has expressed interest in returning to the franchise in either a sequel or a prequel film, though no projects have been officially announced.
The wheels might be in motion for the long-awaited Event Horizon sequel, especially with fans of the film providing cult-classic status to the critically panned film. Event Horizon is available to stream on Paramount+ today.