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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Event Horizon (1997)

Event Horizon (1997)

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Released 10-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:16)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 91:59 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul Anderson

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Laurence Fishburne
Sam Neill
Kathleen Quinlan
Joely Richardson
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Michael Kamen

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Event Horizon is one of those films that unfortunately had an intriguing premise but failed to live up to the promise. The blend of horror and science fiction certainly had some enormous possibilities and from the trailer when I first saw it, the film looked like it might be quite worthwhile. Naturally enough, I went out and indulged in the Region 1 DVD in those heady days of huge discounts and easy rebates. After all, the trailer did seem intriguing and it does co-star Joely Richardson. There is always a salutary lesson to be learnt about not believing film trailers...

    Event Horizon is the story of a spaceship of the same name, the brainchild of Dr Weir (Sam Neill). It was a new kind of spaceship, a faster-than-light spaceship. The heart of the ship was a new gravity drive which worked by folding space so that it could pass instantaneously from one point in space to another. In theory. So this wonderful spacecraft was cast into the void and once sufficiently far out into the solar system it was to engage the drive and head for Proxima Centauri. Event Horizon disappeared without trace.

    It is now 2047 and all of a sudden a signal has been detected near Neptune, and it is confirmed to be from Event Horizon, back from who knows where. So the United States Aerospace Command rescue ship Lewis & Clark is sent on a rescue mission to Neptune under the command of Miller (Laurence Fishburne). They are to go to the Event Horizon, find and rescue the crew thereof and salvage the spacecraft if possible. Obviously, that simple mission does not succeed as Miller and his crew find themselves near Neptune, attached to a deserted spacecraft with a lot of questions requiring answers - answers that no one may like. Not the least of these is the fact that there are life signs on the Event Horizon, but no people. Then there is the question of the ship's log that upon reconstruction seems to indicate some goings on that would be enough to drive any sane man to walk out through an airlock without any spacesuit.

    Slowly but surely the realisation comes to the crew of the Lewis & Clark that something bad happened to the Event Horizon, something very bad, and they don't necessarily want to remain here for long. Hallucinations start to drive the crew slightly mad, by showing them things that they really don't want to see. So the race is on to repair the Lewis & Clark (badly damaged by a gravity surge from the supposedly inert gravity drive) and get the hell out of there ASAP. However, the Event Horizon is not planning on being too cooperative, and when it becomes clear that Dr Weir has gone slightly mad with his reunion with his baby, desperate measures are resorted to. Suffice it to say that very few people live to tell the tale of what happened on the Event Horizon.

    Certainly, this had all the possibilities in the world as a story but it clearly needed a better cast and crew to realise the vision than this somewhat B-grade collection. The opening of the film seems to drag a little for no good reason and then the rest of the film seems to jump about a bit with no particular flow, as if the director wanted to cover much more story but with no time (and possibly not much budget) to do it. The cast really does not amount to much and are classic B-grade throughout. Not one really convinces me that they are really space types and are genuinely horrified by what is going on. But then again I never have had much of an opinion of the dramatic abilities of either Laurence Fishburne or Sam Neill. Perhaps the whole thing would have benefited from some paring down of the scope of the story and a heck of a lot of tightening of certain aspects of the story in order to add some genuine horror and suspense here. And to be honest, even though plenty of the budget seems to have gone into the effects, I cannot say in all honesty that they are altogether convincing at times. Some of the explosions are decidedly faux-looking, detracting somewhat from the really good stuff (like the coolant floating around in zero-G).

    Event Horizon is a film caught between its ambitions and the reality of what it does. I know there are plenty out there who think this is a great film. I just happen to be one of those who believes that in the hands of some genuine talent, this could have and should have been a lot better.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The recent Paramount films through my player have been able to have their problems boiled down to one word. In the case of Event Horizon, that word is aliasing. Now don't get me wrong, this is generally speaking a good transfer, with few really disturbing problems in the video department. However, the sheer consistency of the aliasing, albeit quite moderate in itself, adds to a cumulative effect that is a tad disappointing. To be honest though, this was pretty much what I expected. After all, we are talking about a lot of metal, plenty of straight edges and lots of grilles and mesh that are just the right sort of ingredients for a masterer's nightmare. So it turned out to be, I guess. Aliasing can be found just about everywhere in the transfer: the space station latticework at 5:01; dog tags at 12:21, 18:09 and 18:21; jacket zippers just about everywhere (like 14:13, 44:57, 46:00, 52:26 and 79:17); the spacesuit helmets (as at 32:35, 49:24 and 59:31); just about any straight-edged bench or window (9:34 to 9:58, 24:53, 38:36, 39:09 and 71:31); and... well, I think you might have gotten the picture by now. Add into this intoxicating mix some rather noticeable moiré artefacting in floor grilles mainly (8:43, 23:57, 41:08, 46:50 and 61:23) and you might just be getting the right idea that this transfer suffers from a fair degree of film-to-video artefacting problems. Oh, and the closing credits shimmer pretty well too.

    The transfer is otherwise a more than serviceable effort indeed. Quite sharp and very well detailed throughout, there is certainly nothing here that could be considered less than adequate. Indeed, it is perhaps a factor of the fact that this is so sharp and detailed that the aliasing issues in particular are so obvious. This is a very nicely clear transfer and there really is nothing significant in the way of grain to mar the proceedings. Shadow detail could perhaps have been a little better but that might also have diminished what little genuine suspense there is here. There did not appear to be any low level noise in the transfer.

    Since we are talking space, there really is not much scope here for bright colours. Still, even with the preponderance of darker colours, this is a rather delightful looking transfer with plenty of vibrancy. Blacks lack the absolute depth, but then again that is as it should be since space is not really black anyway, but the big plus here is the use of light to relieve the grey interiors. Whilst I have never been into space and really cannot attest to whether this looks natural or not, I certainly have no complaints about the colour presentation at all.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Other than the problems already noted, there are no further significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There were a few film artefacts floating around here and there and some are a bit obvious but overall, this is no worse and no better than I would expect for a film of such comparative youth.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 55:52. It is right at the end of a scene and whilst a little noticeable is not really disruptive to the flow of the film.

    There is a decent range of subtitle options on the DVD, but on the sampling of the English efforts, they leave a little to be desired. Since there is plenty of dialogue in the film, long sentences have of necessity been truncated in the subtitling and this has not necessarily been to the advantage of the film. There are occasions where some important stuff has been glossed over or omitted and I would rate this as 75% accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are four soundtracks on the DVD, all of which are Dolby Digital 5.1 efforts. The choices are English, French, Spanish and Italian. Whilst the film takes on a new light in French and Spanish, I did stick to the English soundtrack in the main.

    The soundtrack features one of the most aggressively dynamic bass channels I have experienced recently, and this does create problems for the soundtrack. Not the least of these is that you have thunderous bass (and I do mean thunderous bass) being followed by comparatively low level dialogue, and I spent plenty of time upping and downing the volume levels to compensate for this consistent wide dynamic in the soundtrack. This is a tad annoying, especially as where the heck do you get thunderous bass in space? It is a vacuum for heaven's sake, and sound does not travel like it does in an atmosphere. Accordingly, there are some problems with listening to the dialogue here. There did not appear to be any issues with audio sync in the transfer.

    The music score comes from Michael Kamen and whilst it is not my ideal as a film score, it certainly is aggressive like the film and is extremely supportive of the film. It seems to be very metallic and very rich.

    Lovers of bass are probably going to blast their socks off with this effort, but in reality it is not a great example of realistic sound mastering. The bass channel gets too much prominence in the overall mix at times, and overwhelms what would otherwise be an excellent transfer. The surround channels are heavily used and give plenty of presence to the soundscape. Obviously rear ambience is not terrific but why should it be in space?

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Well at least there is something here, if only a trailer.


    Themed along the lines of the slick cover, they are 16x9 enhanced. That is the extent of the highlight reel though.

Theatrical Trailer (2:16)

    The reason why I indulged in this film. In hindsight, it gives far too much of the film away - nothing unusual in that in the past decade though. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It seems to be slightly stretched but that is the only real problem with the technical quality.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 release misses out on:

    The Region 1 release misses out on:

    Direct comparison between the two versions indicates that the Region 1 is somewhat more shimmery, probably as a result of NTSC formatting. It does however seem to be slightly less prone to aliasing, but overall the look of the transfer is slightly inferior to the Region 4 release. That combined with the lack of 16x9 enhancement means that the Region 4 DVD is the version of choice for me.


    Event Horizon is ultimately a film that fails to deliver on an interesting premise. The transfer suffers aplenty from film-to-video artefacts and the audio transfer leaves a bit to be desired, but overall this is a decent enough transfer. The extras package is typically underwhelming. Overall, unless you are a real fan of the film, I would have to say that a rental on this one would probably suffice.

    Trivia time: check out the flag on Weir's coveralls - best seen at 66:03.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Saturday, September 01, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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