August 16, 1997 -- "Event Horizon," which has been called by one movie industry shill the scariest movie of all time, is more annoying than engrossing and more startling that scary.
The movie has some good, solid actors and some good special effects, but the story unravels about halfway through the movie and ends up as a typical creep and gore show with thousands of gallons of blood and various disgusting mutilations.
The so-called scariness of the film is achieved by a very annoying technique of using very loud, sudden noises, sometimes accompanied by doors opening suddenly, or somebody putting a hand on someone's shoulder during dark, quiet scenes. Sure, it is startling, but it isn't really scary.
If you've ever seen "Scream" or "In the Mouth of Madness" or "Psycho" or any number of other, better films, you know that a true horror film achieves its effect not by cheap cinematic tricks, but by subtler techniques that create a pervasive mood of fear and uncertainty. There was no uncertainty in this film. Once it settled into the slasher mode, you just knew there was going to a series of sudden, ear-shattering noises, followed by gore.
The part of the movie that works is the mystery of what happened aboard the long-lost experimental "gravity drive" faster-than-light space ship Event Horizon and why it happened. As the crew of a rescue ship trapped aboard the Event Horizon desperately tries to unravel the mystery, the story is compelling. About half way through the film, the mystery plot unravels, and scientific inquiry turns into a lot of supernatural mumbo-jumbo. The mystery turns into a mad scientist-slasher storyline and the film disintegrates into chaos.
Some of the actors in the film are quite good, including Laurence Fishburne as Captain Joe Miller and Sam Neill as Dr. William Wier, but their roles aren't quite meaty enough to bring meaning into this big, expensive, annoying mess. This film rates a D.
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