Liberate Tuteme Ex Taedium with this classic sci-fi/horror hybrid
Please note, all screen images in this review are included for illustration purposes only. These screen captures were sourced from the Blu-ray version of the movie and do not represent the resolution, color, or other quality indicators of the 4K disc.
It’s frequently said, and often with a hint of derision, that Event Horizon, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next week, is Paul W. S. Anderson’s best film. The implication here seems to be that it’s not very good, or that his other movies are bad.
That’s utter nonsense. I’m a huge proponent of Anderson and greatly enjoy his movies, most of which mix elements of horror or science fiction with highly kinetic action and style, boasting a very high rewatchability factor.
But I’d also agree with the assessment — minus the sneer — that this is his best film. It’s arguably his most intense horror movie, an unabashedly R-rated work of science-fiction that explores madness and regrets in an iconic and gorgeously designed setting, while also having the fun elements of action and spookery that define most of the rest of his filmography.
In 2047, evidence of the Event Horizon, a prototype space ship capable of instantaneous travel due to its wormhole-generation engine, is discovered in deep space several years after being lost and presumed gone forever. Its brilliant creator, Dr. Weir (Sam Neill), joins the crew of the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark under Cpt. Miller (Laurence Fishburne) to find the ship, ascertain what happened and where it went, and reclaim it if possible, rescuing any survivors in the extremely unlikely scenario that anyone is still alive.
The film’s cast is a treasure of wonderful marquee and supporting actors. Joining Neill and Fishburne as the crew of the Lewis and Clark are Jason Isaacs, Kathleen Quinlan, Sean Pertwee, Richard T. Jones, Joely Richardson, and Jack Noseworthy.
I can’t emphasize enough how the absolutely stellar design of the enormous ship adds tremendous atmosphere and defines the film’s most memorable elements. A long safety corridor connects the main forward part of the ship to the rear component which houses the wormhole engine, a visually engaging marvel of engineering (…or maybe witchcraft).
The crew finds that all is not well in the Event Horizon, and unexplainable things — weird, disturbing, and impossible things — are happening. Wherever the ship went, it seems to have brought something sinister back with it.
There’s a keen and rewarding sense of escalation as the film gets progressively weirder and wilder, going to disturbingly gory and supernatural places that one might not initially expect — but which work perfectly within the film’s logic and narrative.
It’s a film worthy of being celebrated, and this 4K Steelbook set to coincide with the film’s 25th Anniversary is a terrific way to do just that.
A very compellingly handsome edition. This Steelbook features a transparent slipcover which overlays additional text and illustrations over the Steelbook artwork, which allows for textless designs and also provides something of a 3D effect. I love this aesthetic. The J-card which provides back cover details is narrow enough that can be neatly stored inside the slip, for anyone who wishes to retain it.
I have not viewed Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of the film, which boasted a new transfer that was said to be an improvement over Paramount’s prior editions, but this 4K edition is certainly the best the film has ever looked to my eyes. Some of the dated CG effects, mostly zero-gravity objects, look even more noticeably textureless given the higher fidelity image, but that represents a very small part of the film’s overall look. The film is shot very practically with gorgeous and detailed sets which look stunning.
Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray disc includes the movie as well as several bonus features. If it’s not identical to Paramount’s prior Blu-ray releases, then it’s very, very similar, sporting the same list of extras
When Scream Factory released their Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release last year, it included a bunch of newly-minted interviews and featurettes that remain exclusive to that edition and are not included with this 4K release.
What’s on the Blu-ray disc:
- Commentary by director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt
- The Making of Event Horizon (1:43:01) — Archival feature-length collection of 5 documentaries
- The Point of No Return (8:12) — the filming of Event Horizon with director commentary
- Secrets (10:03) — deleted & extended scenes with selectable director commentary — There’s some good stuff here, some of whicih was in earlier test screenings and ultimately removed. But most notable to me is the revelation that Jason Isaacs wanted to keep his corpse: his bloodied, flayed-open body model.
- The Unseen Event Horizon
The Unfilmed Rescue Scene (2:57) — in storyboard form
Conceptual Art (3:52)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:29)
- Video Trailer (1:48)
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All 16:9 screen images in this review are were pulled from the Blu-ray version of the movie and do not represent the 4K disc.