Event Horizon Paul W.S. Anderson

To understand what goes down in Event Horizon is like trying to decipher the absolute meaning of life or on lesser terms, the Caramilk secret. We are given the setup that something has gone awry out in space with the exploratory vessel Event Horizon and seven years later — we’re talking in 2047 — a rescue team is dispatched in search of it after it mysteriously reappears. They find the missing ship and from there cryptic, terrifying events unfold and the crew experience frightening hallucinations as the Event Horizon begins to show that it’s become something of a "demon spaceship.” Sadly, Event Horizon is a fucking mess of a sci-fi thriller that finds most of its success in its stylish special effects and overall slick appearance. Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill play the two leads — the former as the rescue ship’s devoted captain and the latter as the EH’s disturbed creator. A showdown between the two is inevitable, and while the suspense that leads up to this is fairly adequate it’s plagued by the film’s numerous unanswered questions — where exactly did the damn ship go all those years? Hell? An evil dimension? — and clichéd rescue sequences complete with quotes of "give me your hand!” and "I’m not leaving you!,” as well as an Indiana Jones dash to outrun a blistering fireball. However, a pool of blood here, Sam Neill gouging his eyes out there and a man sliced open and hung up on meat hooks with his entrails hanging out add a juicy level of gore that doesn’t often infiltrate sci-fi. Anderson even tells of the film’s inching towards an NC-17 rating because it was so bloody. The additional extended scenes include deleted footage cut to salvage a less harsh rating. However, before you begin wondering why they didn’t just re-cut it into a gorier, complete director’s cut to satisfy fans’ gore-lust, the director explains how the film preceded DVD technology and not all of the footage was considered worthy of preservation. The remaining two hours of extra material (dull behind the scenes crew shots, an alternate storyboard opening sequence) make for an exhausting watch, barring the "making of,” which laughably tries to pass off the film’s ambiguity as an homage to The Shining and films of that ilk. Plus: conceptual art. (Paramount)