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Hell is only a word. The reality is much, much worse.—Dr. Weir
A movie where astronauts investigate an experimental ship (the titular Event Horizon) that disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Almost everybody dies.
In the year 2047, a signal from the starship Event Horizon is picked up on Earth. The ship had disappeared without trace beyond Neptune in 2040. The ship has reappeared in a decaying orbit around the planet Neptune, and the rescue ship Lewis and Clark is dispatched to investigate. The ship's crew is commanded by Capt. Miller (Laurence Fishburne) and carries the Event Horizon's designer, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill).
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. Things start to go very wrong very quickly, it appears that someone or something is toying with them, and more, the question is what has the Event Horizon become?
Notable for being pretty much the one Paul W. S. Anderson movie even haters are willing to recognize as genuinely good, Event Horizon is a very effective Cosmic Horror story, basically Lovecraft IN SPACE!
Not to be confused with Moral Event Horizon, or Despair Event Horizon. Or, for that matter, the term for the region around a black hole from which light can no longer escape. For the game that was heavily inspired by the film, see Dead Space.
This film has examples of:
- Absent Aliens
- Alliterative Name: Doctor William Weir.
- Apocalyptic Log: "Liberate... tutemet... ex inferis..."
- Bath Suicide: Weir's wife Claire, apparently.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: The final confrontation between Miller and Weir.
- Big Bad: The Event Horizon itself, with Weir eventually coming to serve as The Dragon.
- Big No: Delivered by Weir when Miller activates the explosives, cutting the gravity chamber off from the rest of the ship as it's about to go into the Cosmic Horror hyperspace dimension and sacrificing himself to save what's left of his crew.
- Bizarrchitecture: The Event Horizon itself. The hallway leading to the engine room is a giant rotating tube lined with spikes. The engine room itself is lined with yet more Spikes of Doom, and the engine itself is literally beautiful. It's cool, but the actual purpose of the designed is handwaved away as "reducing the effects of the gravitational field".
- The Black Dude Dies First: Averted.
- Body Horror
- Came Back Wrong: The whole ship.
- Chekhov's Gun: The explosive ship cutting charges.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Cooper, in keeping with his status as resident Uncle Tomfoolery.
- Conveniently Interrupted Document: At the beginning of the film, the ship receives part of a signal from the titular vessel containing a message in Latin. As the signal is partly corrupted, they initially take the message to be "Liberate me" - "save me". Upon acquiring the full signal and inspecting it closer, they find that the message is actually "Liberate tutemet ex infernis" - "Save yourselves from Hell."
- Conveniently Precise Translation: Subverted. The distress signal sent by the titular starship contains the Latin phrase liberate me ("save me"). It was later realized that the message was liberate tutume ex inferis ("save yourself from Hell").
- Cosmic Horror Story: Hell is the easiest way for the characters to describe hyperspace, but some elements suggest it just might be far, far worse.
- Despair Event Horizon: Weir's leads to his crossing the Moral Event Horizon. (Sense a pattern?)
- Distress Call
- Double Entendre: Cooper in a Shirtless Scene, offers a woman a cup of coffee.
"Want something hot and black inside you?"
"Well, how 'bout some coffee, then?"
- Dramatic Thunder: In Space! Lightning illuminates the ship interiors occasionally, justified in that the ship is in orbit around Neptune which has storms with wind speeds up to 2000 km/h. The thunder being heard however is pure artistic license for further effect.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: The first image of the film is Weir's nightmarish vision of the ship.
- The Eeyore: D.J. Lampshaded by Miller.
- Eldritch Abomination: It's unclear just what happened to the ship, but it's hinted pretty heavily that it took one of these back with it, or became one itself.
- Whatever happened, the sensor suite on the Lewis And Clarke says that the ENTIRE SHIP IS ALIVE.
- Eldritch Location/Genius Loci: This is putting what's on the other side very lightly.
- Executive Meddling: The film originally ran for about 130 minutes, but Paramount forced director Paul W. S. Anderson to cut around 30 minutes of it (reportedly, mostly gore) after negative reactions at test screenings. Unfortunately, most of the deleted footage was lost or destroyed after post-production.
- Expy: Universal Orlando's annual Halloween Horror Nights event had the haunted house "Interstellar Terror" in 2008, which the Art & Development team proudly admitted was directly inspired by Event Horizon: the first interstellar star ship disappears, then reappears several years later orbiting the moon. You go aboard and find that an alien artifact the crew found has driven them into homicidal insanity.
- Fans of the Warhammer 40,000 universe love to point out that this movie could easily be set in the pre-Imperium days, and the Event Horizon just accidentally went through the Warp without a Gellar Field.
- Exty Years From Now: Produced in 1997, and set in 2047.
- Eye Scream: This movie basically runs on this trope. It might hold some kind of record for most injured eyes/sockets in a major Hollywood movie. In fact, the very first person we see in this film is missing eyes! This is at, like, the two minute mark mind you.
- Eyeless Face: due to the above.
- "Where we're going, we won't need eyes to see."
- Face Heel Turn: Weir. Possibly subverted as it seems he may have been possessed by the ship itself.
- Failsafe Failure: The airlock has maybe the stupidest failsafe system in space. If the outer door is opening, the inner door cannot be opened, to avoid depressurising the ship. But it's also impossible to just stop the outer door from opening. Then again, what isn't affected by the Eldritch force inhabiting the Event Horizon?
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Event Horizon's purpose. Didn't go so well.
- Fan Disservice: Weir's hallucination with his dead and half-naked wife.
- Fate Worse Than Death: What awaits anyone entering hyperspace, such as Miller at the end.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Weir
- Genre Shift: Starts out as a near-future hard SF space exploration movie, but doesn't really stay that way.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: Apparently even a glimpse of hyperspace is too much for most people's minds to handle.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: the film's basic premise is an attempt at FTL that Goes Horribly Wrong.
- Gorn: While the film itself is bloody (the original cut was so ennerving that 30 minutes were cut before release), the Apocalyptic Log falls straight into this.
- Ghost Ship: The Event Horizon
- Hannibal Lecture: "Do you see? Do you SEE? DO YOU SEE?"
- Shut UP, Hannibal: "Yes, I see."
- Head Desk: Dramatic example; in the aftermath of Smith's death, Miller does a subdued version of this against the nearest wall.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Miller lets himself get taken to hyperspace to save the rest of the crew.
- H.P. Lovecraft: One of the inspirations, according to Word of God.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: things went horribly wrong due to the ship "folding space"... and returning
- In Space Everyone Can See Your Face: Averted especially in the final scene.
- It Got Worse: Things progressively deteriorate, culminating in the destruction of the Lewis & Clark.
- Kick the Dog: Justin and Peters.
- Last-Note Nightmare: The Paramount logo starts out normally, then the soundtrack wails, as the logo darkens and lifts away, and then the score begins with a threatening string section.
- Layman's Terms - Weir tries to explain... and Techno Babble comes instead of simple terms.
Miller: Layman's terms.
Cooper: Fuck layman's terms, do you speak English?
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Weir's first few nightmares would seem to be mundane since he is not yet on the ship, but they also appear to be prophetic, suggesting perhaps a greater range of influence for the ship than we might first suspect.
- Meaningful Name: The Event Horizon is a ship that creates a black hole to travel through space-time; an event horizon is the point in the gravitational pull of a black hole beyond which light can no longer escape.
- Meat Moss: some on the Horizon's bridge
- Mind Rape Weir projecting nightmarish images to Miller of his crew in "hell."
- No One Could Survive That: Uttered by Starck when Weir is blown through the breached window into space; Miller doubts it. Weir survives, and comes back a Cenobite Expy.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Miller. His Backstory explains why.
- No OSHA Compliance and it kills Peters.
- Though to be fair, the ship might have been safer before it went to hell.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Subverted. Dr. Weir is a doctor of theoretical physics, but shows an amazing... grasp of surgery and anatomy later in the film.
- Oh Crap: Smith gets one when he finds the misplaced explosive charge, seconds away from going off. He doesn't say anything, but his humiliated, terrified cringe speaks for itself. Cooper also has a few of them.
Cooper: Why's this shit always gotta happen to me?!
Cooper: (when the ship fills with blood) ...Oh, fuck me.
- J.D. has obviously just had an Oh Crap moment when he comes to speak to Miller about the message in Latin; he's sweaty and nervous in a way that is extremely out of character for him.
- Justin, after being released from his trance and realizing he had put himself in an unlocking sequence of the airlock without a pressure suit.
- Outrun the Fireball: Miller.
- Papa Wolf: Miller is very protective of his crew. See Punctuated Pounding below.
- Phlebotinum Analogy: the "folding space".
- Precision F-Strike:
Miller: I have no intention of leaving her, Doctor. I will take the Lewis and Clark to a safe distance, and then I will launch TAC missiles at the Event Horizon until I'm satisfied she's vaporized. FUCK this ship.
- Punctuated Pounding: "YOU! WON'T! TAKE! MY! CREW!"
- Recycled in Space. Solaris AS HORROR!
- Rain of Blood: Type 3, near the end of the movie.
- Room 101: Take a guess.
- Rule of Cool: The Captain of the Event Horizon firmly believed Altum Videtur. After bidding farewell in English, he gave his sendoff in Latin; "Ave Atque Vale - Hail and farewell". The reason he spoke Latin in "the tape" is because, well, Altum Videtur.
- Sanity Slippage: When you touch "the beyond".
- Say My Name: Weir screams Miller's name repeatedly, just before he gets sucked out the breached window.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: "We're leaving."
- Self-Destructive Charge: leading to Heroic Sacrifice
- Send in the Search Team
- Sequel Hook: What happens when the drive of the Event Horizon returns?
- 40,000 years later...
- Even the writers probably couldn't figure out why anyone wouldn't destroy the Event Horizon on sight.
- Shout-Out: The Burning Man, to The Stars My Destination. The working title of the movie during filming was even The Stars My Destination.
- Showing Off the Perilous Power Source: in the Engine Room of Doom.
- Shown Their Work: Look closely at some of the details. For example, the film takes place roughly 50 years in the future, and Weir's Australian flag badge has Union Jack being replaced with the red and black with yellow disc of the Aborigine flag. Some years after the film was released, there is a movement to change the current flag to include the Aborginal flag. The US flag badges has additional stars as well, bringing the number to 55.
- Smart People Know Latin: The use of Latin by the captain in the Apocalyptic Log seems to be there partly to suggest what an educated guy he is, although it's the mistranslation of one of the quotes that turns out to be relevant to the plot.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The end credits features the techno song "Funky Shit."
- Spikes of Doom: In the DVD commentary the director states that the spikes in the gravitational drive room weren't just there to look scary, they originally engaged with the core, but this wasn't possible due to budget constraints. They were left in due to the Rule of Scary.
- Staggered Zoom
- Take Our Word for It: Averted. First we see people watching the horrifying slaughter of the original Event Horizon crew... then a significant chunk of the video ( the part where Captain Kilpack has torn his own eyes out and is holding them up to the camera) is shown to the audience.
- "We're leaving."
- Technology Marches On: All of the monitors are CRT and the ships log is stored on a CD Rom.
- Teleporter Accident
- Thrown Out the Airlock: While averting Explosive Decompression, to a point. Justin'seyes explosively decompress, as do his blood vessels, even though another character says earlier on that "Decompression wouldn't do that."
- The Event Horizon's orbit has degraded that the ship is actually in Neptune's atmosphere, not vacuum.
- To Hell and Back: Hell is just a word, however. The reality is much, much worse.
- Touched by Vorlons: Dr. Weir.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: Cooper, all the damn time. "HERE I COME MOTHERFUCKEERRRS!" Used for Comic Relief and a foil to Captain Miller's dour seriousness.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Miller's fate, deliberately unanswered by the film.
- When Things Spin Science Happens: Used and averted. On one hand, the gravitational drive is always spinning due to magnets. Averted in that the real science happens when it stops.
- Where Da White Women At?: Cooper.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity. Poor Weir.
- You Fail Physics Forever: It's noted in the film that the FTL Drive the Event Horizon supposedly has can't work because of the Law of Relativity stating that FTL travel is impossible. William Weir, as he puts it, had to work around it, which is where Folding Space comes into play and the cause of everything that happen in the movie.
"You break all the laws of physics, and you seriously think there wouldn't be a price?"
- An orbit in atmosphere would degrade very quickly due to air resistance, especially a stormy atmosphere like Neptune's.