DirectorPaul W. S. Anderson
Release Date(s)1997 (March 23, 2021)
Studio(s)Paramount Pictures (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C+
After the success of Mortal Kombat in 1995, Paul W. S. Anderson moved on to his next project, arguably one of his most interesting: Event Horizon. A sci-fi horror film that turned out to be an unexpected hit on home video, it fell short of its $60 million dollar budget at the box office. Even more of an Alien clone at the outset, the original script was re-written by Anderson to incorporate more mystery and suspense than monsters. The film’s most notorious ingredient is its sequences involving crew members in disturbing Hell-like scenarios, complete with extreme gore and nudity, which was cut down significantly before the theatrical release. Fans have waited patiently for the footage to be restored in a “Director’s Cut” version of the film, but sadly, much of it appears to be lost. As is, the sequences are still effective, even if characters and plot elements surrounding them are perfunctory. Anderson’s work after Resident Evil a few years later would become known more for its schlock value, but there’s still something tantalizingly nasty about this one.
In the future, the crew of the rescue ship Lewis and Clark have been summoned to investigate a distress signal coming from the Event Horizon, a ship that went missing years before. Said crew is made up of Lieutenant Starck (Joely Richardson), Doctor D.J. (Jason Isaacs), medical technician Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), chief engineer Ensign (Jack Noseworthy), rescue technician Cooper (Richard T. Jones), and the pilot Smitty (Sean Pertwee). The ship’s commander, Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), informs them that the Event Horizon is equipped with a gravity drive, which allows the ship to travel long distances faster via artificial black holes. Also joining the voyage is Dr. Weir (Sam Neill), who designed the drive. Upon their arrival, they discover that the Event Horizon’s crew have been mysteriously slaughtered. They begin to experience ghostly delusions, and it isn’t long before it becomes clear that they may be suffering the same fate as the crew of the Event Horizon, which seemed to fall prey to something horrible from another dimension.
Scream Factory brings Event Horizon to Blu-ray for a second time in a Collector’s Edition package with a new 4K scan of the original 35 mm camera negative. It’s an excellent upgrade over the previous 2008 Blu-ray release (which was subsequently re-released in 2013 with the same presentation). Higher levels of detail are present with deep, inky blacks and mostly solid grain levels. The late 1990s CGI doesn’t hold up at all, but is slightly more forgiving against starfields and darkened backgrounds. Saturation is rich with bold swatches of blue, green, and red, as well as natural skin tones. Contrast levels are ideal and everything appears stable and clean. It’s a slightly imperfect presentation because of the low grade computer effects baked into it, but the presentation of it here has been rendered with accuracy.
The audio is included in English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA with optional subtitles in English SDH. Event Horizon can be a loud film at times, and these two audio options excel at delivering just that. Dialogue exchanges are clear and precise, but the real stars of the show are the score and sound effects, both of which are big and booming, rattling the room with impressive low end activity. It’s also an immersive track, complete with moments that whip around the room. Both tracks are highly effective, but the 5.1 is the cream of the crop.
The following extras are also included:
- Audio Commentary with Paul W. S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt
- Reflecting on Hell (HD – 10:06)
- Haunted Galleon (HD – 9:00)
- Organized Chaos (HD – 7:51)
- Compassion in Space (HD – 8:33)
- The Doomed Captain (HD – 2:55)
- Space Cathedral (HD – 5:32)
- Something New (HD – 7:31)
- Taking Care of It (HD – 3:21)
- Reinforcements (HD – 3:53)
- Almost Real (HD – 2:57)
- Screams from the Cosmos (HD – 6:37)
- Into the Jaws of Darkness (Upsampled SD – 14:57)
- The Body of the Beast (Upsampled SD – 22:48)
- Liberate Tutume Ex Infernis (Upsampled SD – 19:55)
- The Scale to Hell (Upsampled SD – 18:42)
- The Womb of Fear (Upsampled SD – 26:36)
- The Revolving Corridor (Upsampled SD – 1:52)
- The Crew Gathers (Upsampled SD – 1:14)
- Shooting Wire Work (Upsampled SD – 1:36)
- The Dark Inside (Upsampled SD – 3:28)
- Deleted Briefing Scene (Upsampled SD – 2:49)
- Extended Medical Bay Scene (Upsampled SD – 0:53)
- Extended Burning Man Confrontation Upsampled SD – 6:20)
- The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene (Upsampled SD – 2:57)
- Conceptual Art (Upsampled SD – 3:52)
- Theatrical Trailer (Upsampled SD – 2:29)
- Video Trailer (Upsampled SD – 1:48)
The bulk of the new extras come from Justin Beahm’s Reverend Entertainment. There are several new interviews, including Reflecting on Hell with director Paul W. S. Anderson, Haunted Galleon with writer Philip Eisner, Organized Chaos with actress Kathleen Quinlan, Compassion in Space with actor Jack Noseworthy, The Doomed Captain with actor Peter Marinker, Space Cathedral with production designer Joseph Bennett, Something New with set decorator Crispian Sallis, Taking Care of It with production manager Dusty Symonds, Reinforcements with second unit director Robin Vidgeon, Almost Real with location manager Derek Harrington, and Screams from the Cosmos with sound designer Campbell Askew. They feature a mix of traditionally-shot interviews and others recorded via Skype and/or Zoom. Most of it is brief and disorganized, and while there’s valuable information to be gained, particularly from the crew members, perhaps a small documentary would have been more beneficial. In addition, all of the extras from the previous DVD and Blu-ray releases have carried over as well, including the 2006 DVD audio commentary with director Paul W. S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt; The Making of Event Horizon 5-part documentary (Into the Jaws of Darkness, The Body of the Beast, Liberate Tutume Ex Infernis, The Scale to Hell, and The Womb of Fear); The Point of No Return: Filming Event Horizon behind-the-scenes featurettes (The Revolving Corridor, The Crew Gathers, Shooting Wire Work, and The Dark Inside); Secrets deleted scenes (Deleted Briefing Scene with optional commentary by Anderson, Extended Medical Bay Scene, and Extended Burning Man Confrontation, the latter two featuring non-optional commentary by Anderson); and The Unseen Event Horizon featurettes (The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene and Conceptual Art, both with non-optional commentary by Anderson). Rounding out the extras are the film’s theatrical trailer and video trailer. Everything comes housed in a standard amaray Blu-ray case with reversible artwork (the original theatrical poster artwork on the rear) with a slipcover featuring new artwork.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition of Event Horizon offers a substantial A/V upgrade with an extras package that could have used a bit more TLC. It’s still a fine disc overall, and in the absence of locating all of the film’s missing footage to assemble that long-sought after extended version, it’s still the best home video release of the film to date.
- Tim Salmons