Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Event Horizon (quickie)

On videocassette.
So I have the vast internet to thank for recommending this movie. A few days ago I stumbled on a website indicating that Event Horizon contained stupidly entertaining and gory science fiction horror. It also features Morpheus and The Guy from Jurassic Park, and apparently held the number one spot in the UK box office for a time, so I thought, "How bad could it be?". After watching it, I can tell you it's definitely a stupid movie. The horror is unoriginal, uninspired, and, to be honest, unscary (check your newspeak dictionary, it's in there). The CGI ranges from mediocre to laughable. The movie commits the misogynist blunder typical of Hollywood Horror of objectifying its women. Perhaps worst of all, some of the movie just doesn't make a lot of sense. But if you're in the right mood for it, Event Horizon can be a lot of fun. It falls definitively into the realm of the B-movie, and most of its failings come off in a way that feels silly and enjoyable rather than cringeworthy.

There's also a degree of absurdity in the major plot twist which I won't spoil except to say that the crewmembers basically start hallucinating. The hallucinations, whether real or imaginary, provide the ground for me to perform one of my favorite analytical techniques: extrapolating minor plot details into overreaching theoretical arguments! This is a technique found in Zizek's documentary The Pervert's Guide to Cinema where character interaction and development are used to explain the existence of supernatural phenomena. With Event Horizon, the question is what these things are that the crew keeps seeing and why they keep seeing them. If we look at the three most developed characters, Jurassic Park Guy, Morpheus, and Apollo 13 Lady, everyone is struggling under a heavy burden of guilt. Jurassic Park Guy feels like he's to blame for the fact that his wife committed suicide, Morpheus feels responsible for the death of one of his old crewmembers, and Apollo 13 Lady feels regret over leaving her son at home with her ex-husband. This overabundance of guilt places us definitively in the Lacanian realm of symbolic law, indicating that, like The Birds's birds before it, the hallucinations in Event Horizon embody the crew's superego.

Final Notes:
 - There are ways in which this movie is the epitome of what I created the "beers" category to signify: dumb, mindless entertainment. The category has evolved since then to include things like the quality of the filmmaking as well as emotional depth and complexity, things which are severely lacking here.
 - Event Horizon is full of wonderfully ambiguous dialogue that is never really cleared up, my favorite being when one of the movie's earliest casualties ominously states, "He's coming. The dark!"
 - My Bad Jump Scare Tally reached twelve before I stopped keeping track.


Further reading: I use the same technique to analyze the plot of Nosferatu in the third review I ever published.

2 comments:

  1. I saw this movie in the cinema at around 9:30pm when I was very young. I was scared because it was night time. I knew it was horror-sci-fi, but I couldn't help myself. I ended up being blown away by the visual effects, and disappointed by what the story ultimately transformed into, with murder after murder. I still think the idea that 'Hell exists on the other side of a black hole' is very disturbing, and when Sam Neill turns up with no eyes ("You don't need eyes where we're going" or something like that), the movie definitely made an impression on me.

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    1. Yeah there's undeniably something awesomely fun about this movie.

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