Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Noah Huntley, Sean Pertwee
The snarky description of Ridley Scott's Alien is that it's just a haunted house movie in space. (This is a deep nerd argument akin to "Star Wars is fantasy, not hard sci-fi.") Is that a fair description? Does it diminish the quality of the movie? It doesn't matter, because the real haunted-house-in-outer-space movie is Paul W.S. Anderson's cult favorite Event Horizon. In fact, the film's screenwrite, Paul Eisner, pitched his idea to Paramount Pictures as "The Shining in space."
A more accurate pitch would've been "Hellraiser in space." In the year 2047, the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark happens up the Event Horizon, a ship that went missing seven years earlier, after its experiments with interdimensional travel went awry. See, the ship went to Hell and has returned, this Hellship, a sentient (and malevolent) being, kind of like the Overlook Hotel. It begins to manipulate the crew of the Lewis and Clark, causing hallucinations based on their darkest fears and regrets.
Like the great haunted house movies, Event Horizon relies on atmosphere and brief moments of monstrous violence rather than gallons of blood and gristle. Paul W.S. Anderson is now known as the Resident Evil director, but, for a brief moment in 1997, he could've been the next Clive Barker. —RS