DATE: Wednesday, August 20, 1997 TAG: 9708200015 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E7 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: 73 lines
WHAT BEGINS promisingly as a science-fiction thriller ends lamely as a lot of mumbo jumbo talk about how our inner selves are really the villains and that we're all, somehow, haunted.
The sci-fi fans will eventually feel the urge to yell ``Show me the goods,'' which, of course, means the resident monster. They can yell all they like. This movie is so loud with Michael Kamen's blaring music that they probably won't even disturb fellow moviegoers, much less get any results.
As for the other customers, the amateur psychiatrists who want this to be more than just another thriller, they won't get a pay-off either. ``Event Horizon,'' all about creeping around inside an abandoned space ship, never gets around to SHOWING us much. It merely talks.
It begins promisingly. It is the year 2047 and we're given a quick-digest history of the space program since 2015. The first colony on the Moon has been established. Seven years ago, a space ship called Event Horizon was sent to explore beyond the farthest planet, Neptune. It disappeared, never to be heard from again.
Now, the rescue ship Lewis and Clark has been dispatched to find out what happened. Like the leopard on top of Hemingway's ``Snows of Kilimanjaro'' there is a feeling that perhaps humans are going beyond their destiny.
The abandoned space ship is quickly found. Then, things slow down. The crew members have hallucinations about lost love ones - a wife who perished on board, a child who died.
For the most part, though, the gore factor is minimal. Even a tape from the original ship's log is mercifully boggled.
Laurence Fishburne chooses to deadpan an aura of authority for most of his screen time as the captain. Sam Neill, perhaps still shellshocked from running from dinosaurs in the original ``Jurassic Park,'' is Dr. Weir, the ``outsider'' who is dragged along as the expert. Seemingly sane for most of the movie, he goes berserk, quite suddenly and quite unbelievably, to become more Dr. Weird. Kathleen Quinlan, still trying to jump start her career after an Oscar nomination for ``Apollo 13,'' is merely vulnerable. Joely Richardson, daughter of Vanessa Redgrave, keeps her properly British accent even when she's bathed in a river of blood.
The real star is production designer Joseph Bennett, who has created some intriguing sets, complete with imaginative lighting and effects.
It's all for nothing, though, when, after an hour, we begin to get the idea that we're not going to get a pay-off here. Instead, we get a talkathon - something about how the now-dead Event Horizon crew has been to hell (or perhaps a heavy metal concert?).
Paul Anderson, who directed, doesn't seem to realize that a conception is not enough for a movie. Unable to deliver real scares, he reverts to the cheap tactics of having loud music and unknown objects dart out at unpredictable moments. Anderson's previous experience was in directing the no-brainer ``Mortal Kombat,'' which gives you a hint that he's no Stanley Kubrick.
There is some fun in spotting borrowings from earlier films. There's a river of blood from ``The Shining.'' There's the initial promise of an ``Alien'' copy, but this is abandoned when we realize there isn't really going to be a ``monster.'' There's the hint of ``Invasion of the Body Snatchers.'' There's the feeling of ``The Haunted'' in that the haunted house itself (now the space ship) has become a living thing. And, moreso than ``2001,'' it has the quest of ``2010'' as a precursor.
In the end, and at least 30 minutes before, you get the idea that you're stranded in empty space. ILLUSTRATION: MOVIE REVIEW
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely
Director: Paul Anderson
Screenplay: Philip Eisner
Music: Michael Kamen
MPAA rating: R (gore, violence, nudity)
Mal's rating: Two stars
Send Suggestions or Comments to