Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Nominee #17 - Event Horizon (1997)
A crew is sent to explore a spaceship which entered and returned from a blackhole. But they soon realise this ship is not what it used to be...
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson (as Paul Anderson)
Writer: Philip Eisner
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan
You’re in outer space. It’s 2047 and a gigantic meteorite comes at you (the camera) and you turn to look at its rocky hide as it hurtles past, then you see Neptune in the distance. The Event Horizon, a deep space research vessel had disappeared years ago. Now you see it, hanging in space, above the planet-sized storms of giant Neptune, amidst its massive rings.
The Event Horizon beckons. It looks larger than a town-square but shaped like a club. The camera’s inside gliding past dimly lit panels and deserted levels. A watch, a tumbler, a book and debris float by aimlessly in gravity-less corridors. There’s a man’s corpse dangling hanging in the air, he’s upside down but as the camera moves closer he turns fully around and you see he’s covered with blood, limbs spread out his mouth open in a scream that only you can hear.
You feel horror from that moment on.
The next shot - camera withdraws and zooms out from an iris and you see Dr William Weir (Sam Neill) down below on a bed, he’s just waking with a start from his dreadful dream, his nightmare. He looks longingly at a picture of his (dead?) wife - ‘’I miss you’’. Then Weir’s doing what every man does – he’s shaving. There should be nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing more laughably commonplace. But you feel horror from that moment on.
He turns from the bathroom mirror, at the only sound of water dripping. It’s the tap in the bathtub. The camera’s looking at him from the tub. He looks down deeply disturbed, swallows, then resumes shaving but so slowly, so watchfully that you get the feeling that he’s afraid he’ll cut himself. The next shot is violently sudden. If you watch this on IMAX it’ll be even more so. The scene has everything upside down. It starts with an impossibly loud sound of a massive shutter door opening. Weir – upside down – walks toward you in a corridor of some sort. As the camera zooms out he reaches the window frame - through which the camera has been spying on him – and looks out into space from the window. As the camera turns right side up and keeps zooming out, you see that entire structure (in which Weir’s been moving about) as one tiny pod among dozens its size, in yet another giant space-structure, Daylight Station.
Event Horizon’s opening scene was deeply disturbing without showing anything remotely disturbing – no gore except that brief 2-sec glimpse of an open-mouthed corpse. No ghosts, no screams, no slashing. Just images, sounds and a way of seeing the most ordinary things.............our fears do the rest!