This dark, eerie, genuinely creepy outer-space thriller is hardly original, yet director Paul Anderson manages to blend the archetypal elements of horror and science fiction into a stomach-fluttering experience that maintains its suspenseful edge from the opening thump to the final ka-bang.
It’s set credibly in the near future, with Sam Neill starring as the creator of the Event Horizon, a spaceship equipped with a gravity drive designed for interdimensional travel. The ship has been absent for seven years, so when it resurfaces, Neill requisitions Laurence Fishburne’s deep-space search-and-rescue unit to aid him in his Ahab-esque quest. At the far recess of the solar system, they encounter the Event Horizon, crewless and dormant. But something unfathomable has returned with it. First apparitions appear and rattle the team’s sanity — imagine The Exorcist or The Shining remade on the set of Alien. Then, after more inexplicable goings on, the carnage begins. The why and what of the destructive force is never quite explained, which is annoying, but this film is really about mood, set design, and crisp editing, all of which Anderson achieves with a master hand. Nothing too inspirational here, just plenty of well-orchestrated frights.