Event Horizon is a 1997 science fiction horror film. The principal story was written by Philip Eisner (with an uncredited rewrite by Andrew Kevin Walker) and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. Although considered a box office failure, the film developed a cult following which resulted in the 2006 release of a 2-disc special edition DVD.
When the Lewis and Clark arrives, the crew are informed by Dr. Weir that the Event Horizon had actually been built to test a secret, experimental stardrive. The drive would create an artificial black hole to bridge two points in space to significantly reduce journey time. The ship had been on its initial test flight, intended to reach Proxima Centauri; it subsequently vanished without a trace. Weir plays to the crew the only signal received since the ship's reappearance, which is a series of confusing screams and shouts, embedded in which is the Latin phrase liberate me ("save me").
Upon approaching the drifting vessel, no definitive trace of human life is found; inconclusive sensor readings lead the Lewis and Clark's crew to enter the Event Horizon to search for survivors. Inside, the crew split up and Medical Technician Peters (Kathleen Quinlan) discovers a frozen human corpse floating on the bridge, with both eyes gouged out. Engineer Justin (Jack Noseworthy) enters the ship's core and sees a black, liquid-like mirror within its drive; it sucks him inside as he touches it and emits a large shock wave, damaging the Lewis and Clark. Rescue Technician Cooper (Richard T. Jones) manages to pull Justin out of the core by his tether, but he is catatonic.
With the Lewis and Clark heavily damaged, the remaining crew transfer to the Event Horizon, which only contains 20 hours of usable oxygen. A short time later, Justin emerges from his catatonia and attempts to commit suicide by ejecting himself from an airlock, to escape the memory of what he saw inside the ship's core. Although Justin is rescued by Captain Miller, he is seriously injured.
Soon afterwards the rescuers begin to experience hallucinations of their personal fears and regrets. Captain Miller sees the manifestation of a subordinate he was forced to abandon in a fire; Peters sees images of her son Denny (Barclay Wright), with his legs covered in bloody lesions, and widower Dr. Weir sees his wife Claire (Holley Chant), missing her eyes and urging him to join her.
The crew discover that although the ship's drive successfully opened a gateway in space-time, it actually led outside the known universe and into another dimension, described as "pure chaos, pure evil". The Event Horizon's reconstructed video log shows the original crew activating the gravity drive and, moments later, engaging in a frenzy of torture, self-mutilation, cannibalism and sodomy. The ship's captain, who has torn out his own eyes, leaves the previously-heard Latin message which has since been found to actually say liberate tutame ex inferis ("save yourself from Hell").
It appears that the Event Horizon has returned with a supernatural presence which is using its occupants' personal torments against them, with the aim of compelling them to return to the "chaos" dimension. The Lewis and Clark now repaired, Miller decides to destroy the Event Horizon despite the strong objections of Dr. Weir. While preparing to evacuate, Peters is led to her death by plummeting down a shaft as a result of being tricked by a manifestation of her son. Dr. Weir, having abandoned the crew and arriving at the core, discovers her body. He sees a vision of his wife's suicide, and is compelled by her reanimated form to tear out his eyes.
Weir then uses bombs fitted to the Event Horizon to destroy the Lewis and Clark, which kills its pilot Smith (Sean Pertwee) and causes Cooper, on the ship's hull, to be thrown into space. Weir goes on to kill DJ (Jason Isaacs) by dissecting him alive, leaving him suspended from the ceiling of the medical facility.
Seemingly possessed by the presence on board, Weir threatens Miller and Starck (Joely Richardson) with a nail gun, saying the ship is "alive" and will not allow anyone to leave. He engages a ten-minute countdown on the ship's gravity drive, after which it will return to the chaos dimension. Cooper, having used his space suit's oxygen to propel him back to the ship, causes Weir to shoot out the bridge window and be sucked into space. Miller attempts to detonate explosives installed on the Event Horizon to split the ship in two; after arming all of the explosives and recovering the detonator for them, he is trapped by a burning manifestation of his former comrade and forced to escape to the ship's core.
Inside the core, Miller again sees the vision of his comrade, which then changes into a mutilated Dr. Weir (eyes restored) who shows Miller scenes of the Lewis and Clark's remaining crew being tortured and mutilated. The two fight, but Miller is eventually able to reach the detonator, which he then triggers. Weir screams, denied the surviving crew.
The ship explodes at the neck and splits in two. The gravity drive then activates, pulling the rear of the ship into a black hole. Starck and Cooper, with a comatose Justin, survive in the remaining forward decks and place themselves into stasis. Starck has a nightmare of a mutilated Dr. Weir rescuing her, and is awakened in a distraught state by a second rescue team as the film ends.
In keeping with the naturalistic science fiction setting of the film, costumes are based upon present day flight suits complete with shoulder patches and modified United States Coast Guard officer rank insignia. The sailing ship in the center of the Lewis and Clark’s mission patch is a United States Coast Guard Cutter in reference to the ship’s search and rescue role.
The flag depicted on Dr. Weir’s uniform is a variation of the flag of Australia with the Aboriginal flag replacing the Union Flag. Other crewmembers also have modified flags on their uniforms to suggest political change prior to 2047. Characters played by American actors wear a modified flag of the United States with fifty-five stars, while characters played by British actors wear a European Union flag with an extra circle of stars within the original one.
After releasing the highly successful Mortal Kombat in 1995 Anderson was offered the movie. The release-date had already been set and Anderson agreed to do the movie, despite that the deadline meant that the post-production period was severely reduced. On the commentary Anderson cited this as the main-cause for the many troubles faced during production and especially when Anderson was to make decisions on the final cut.
On the commentary Anderson mentioned his wish to direct an R rated picture after the PG-13 rated Mortal Kombat and mentioned he turned down the opportunity to direct X-Men in order to make Event Horizon.
Anderson claims that his initial cut of the film, before the visual effects had been completed, ran to about 130 minutes in length. The film was even more graphic in this incarnation, and both test audiences and the studio were unnerved by the gore. Paramount ordered Anderson to cut the film by 30 minutes and delete some of the violence, a decision that he regrets. Some of the lost scenes were offered as special features but were taken from poor-quality video tape as the studio had little interest in keeping unused footage and the original film has been lost.