Event Horizon (1997) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board.

  • In the year 2047 a group of astronauts are sent to investigate and salvage the long lost starship "Event Horizon". The ship disappeared mysteriously 7 years before on its maiden voyage and with its return comes even more mystery as the crew of the "Lewis and Clark" discover the real truth behind its disappearance and something even more terrifying.

  • It is the year 2047. Seven years have passed since the mysterious disappearance of Event Horizon, a spaceship that was sent to explore the outer limits of our solar system. Now, it is the time for a rescue mission that will find the ship and bring back the survivors; if any...

  • In the year 2047 the search and rescue ship "Lewis and Clark" rushes to the "Event Horizon", an experimental ship which disappeared in deep space with all crew aboard. Unfortunately, the ship has something on board, which leads to horrific consequences.

  • The year is 2047 and a ship named the Event Horizon has re-appeared after disappearing 7 years prior, in experiments for faster than light travel. A rescue hastily speeds to the returned vessel after a transmission was picked up from the ship, garbled, but vaguely resembling a human voice. As the crew reach the ship, and spend longer on it, it appears that someone or something is toying with them, and more, the question is what has the Event Horizon become?

  • A rescue crew in space comes to investigate and if possible, rescue a government spaceship gone missing for seven years. When they board the ship, they learn that the ship has been somewhere beyond space and brought something back with it that is an unspeakable evil.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In the near future, humanity has successfully colonized the Moon and several planets, and is venturing deeper into space. In the year 2040, the starship Event Horizon was sent on a secret mission, but it disappeared without a trace beyond the planet Neptune at the outer rim of the solar system; her loss was considered the worst space disaster on record, with her entire 18-person crew missing and presumed dead. In 2047, the ship suddenly reappears. Event Horizon's designer and widower Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), who is living on a space station orbiting Earth and is tormented by the memory of his dead wife, receives a call that he has to report to the station's dock.

    The rescue ship Lewis and Clark, commanded by Capt. Miller (Laurence Fishburne), is dispatched on a secret mission, with Dr. Weir coming along. Aboard the ship, Weir tries to introduce himself to the captain and crew, but there is very little time to socialize, as most team members were hastily pulled out of shore leave for this mission. The crew is put into stasis (which means being put in an induced sleep in a water tank) due to the immense G-forces released during the flight to Neptune.

    While in stasis, Dr. Weir suddenly wakes up, and is released from his tank. He walks around the ship, learning that he is the only one awake. While making his way to the bridge, he finds his late wife Claire (Holley Chant) sitting naked at the helm; when she turns around, her eyes are missing from their sockets. Screaming, he suddenly wakes up back in his stasis tank, as the Lewis and Clark is nearing its target; apparently, he just had a vivid nightmare, and he is released from the tank.

    After a short recovery, the crew is anxious to learn what secret mission they have been dispatched to in such a hurry. Dr. Weir informs them that their mission is to salvage the Event Horizon, which has reappeared in a decaying orbit around Neptune, more than three billion kilometers from the nearest outpost on Saturn's moon Titan. After several incredulous reactions from the crew who still believe that ship was destroyed, Weir explains that the ship was actually built by the government to test a secret, experimental, faster-than-light gravity drive. The drive creates an artificial black hole to bridge two points in space, which significantly reduces journey time and creates the illusion of faster-than-light travel. The ship had been on its initial test flight, intended to reach Proxima Centauri, but subsequently vanished without a trace, and a cover story of the ship being destroyed was fed to the public. When asked where the ship has been those seven years, Weir answers that they are here to find out.

    Weir plays for the crew the only audio transmission received since the ship's reappearance: a series of garbled and intensely disturbing screams and shouts. A human voice that was embedded in the transmission was filtered from the recording. Medic D.J. (Jason Isaacs) identifies it as a Latin phrase, "liberate me" ("save me").

    Upon approaching the drifting vessel, X.O. Starck (Joely Richardson) tries to contact the ship, but there is no response. After a short fly-over, the Lewis and Clark docks with the Horizon. Sensors indicate the artificial gravity is off-line, as well as the climate system. No definitive traces of human life are found; these inconclusive sensor readings lead Captain Miller, Engineer Justin (Jack Noseworthy) and Medical Tech Peters (Kathleen Quinlan) to board the Horizon in space suits to search for survivors. They enter via the ship's main corridor, which separates the two parts of the ship. The corridor is lined with explosives as an emergency measure: in case of a catastrophe, the explosives will split the ship in two, separating the aft engine room containing the gravity drive from the forward section which contains the bridge, and can be used as an escape vessel. In the corridor, the team splits up: Peters proceeds to the bridge, where she discovers a floating human corpse, mutilated and frozen, with both eyes gouged out. She successfully retrieves some of the on-board transmissions as Justin enters the ship's gravity core. It consists of a metal orb with rotating rings around it, and a pool of water below. Upon entering, the lights suddenly turn on, and the orb seems to open, revealing a black, liquid-like mirror inside; it sucks Justin inside as he touches it, and emits a large gravity shock wave, breaching the hull of the Clark. Rescue Tech Cooper (Richard T. Jones) manages to pull Justin out of the core by his tether, but he comes out catatonic. The crew manages to restore the climate system and artificial gravity, which immediately causes the frozen corpse on the bridges to fall down and shatter; Justin is brought to the medical bay. Weir maintains that the gravity drive could never have activated by itself, but Miller declares the drive off-limits for the entire crew.

    There is no trace of the former crew, save from the remains of the corpse, and what seems to be human bones and tissue lining the windows as some sort of macabre decoration. With the Clark heavily damaged, the remaining crew members have no choice but to transfer to the Horizon, which only contains 20 hours of usable oxygen. Pilot Smith (Sean Pertwee) voices his concern that there is something very wrong with the Horizon, and refuses to stay on board longer than necessary. He and Cooper start working on repairs on the outside.

    Soon afterward, the rescuers begin to experience strange sightings. In the medical bay, Peters sees images of her son Denny (Barclay Wright), whom she had to leave with her ex-husband: his legs are covered in bloody lesions. She finds a video log of the crew happily preparing for the journey, which is abruptly followed by a log with scrambled images; however, the audio is unmistakably the disturbing sound from the ship's last transmission. She will try to clear it up, but there is a sudden power drain coming from the gravity drive. Justin suddenly starts to convulse, and rambles that 'the dark is coming'. Weir and Miller go to the gravity drive, and Weir enters a compartment to fix the drain, but he sees his wife again without her eyes, urging him to join her. In the meanwhile, Miller sees a burning man rising from the water pool below the gravity drive.

    The team members discuss the hallucinations; Miller believes them to be real manifestations and not imaginary. Smith lashes out at Weir, stating that by creating a ship that defies the laws of nature, he has unleashed something unnatural that killed the first crew. The rest subdue him, and Miller orders him to resume the repairs outside. Starck then confronts Miller with an outrageous theory: she thinks that the Event Horizon has become a living entity itself; like an immune system, it is showing an increasing response to the foreign human presence, by causing hallucinations of increasing intensity.

    A short time later, Peters notices that Justin has emerged from his catatonia and left the medical bay. Suddenly, there is another power drain followed by loud bangs. Several crew members witness how a door is dented by an unseen force. Weir attempts to open it, but is stopped by Starck. Then an alarm goes off: Justin is standing in an air lock, and attempts suicide by ejecting himself into space without a space suit, saying he is tormented by horrific images he saw of "the dark inside me" when he was inside the ship's gravity core. Although Justin snaps out of his trance, the ejection procedure cannot be stopped. The airlock opens and Justin is expelled into space. Captain Miller, who was overseeing the repairs outside, arrives in a space suit just in time to take him back in, but Justin is seriously injured due to the decompression, and put in stasis. Weir seems unshaken by the events.

    With only 4 hours of breathable air left, Miller demands answers from Weir about what is causing the manifestations and Justin's behavior, but Weir doesn't know, nor does he have any idea where the ship exactly went and stayed for the past 7 years. Miller leaves and experiences more hallucinations, hearing cries for help. Miller talks to D.J., telling him the burning man was a subordinate he was once forced to abandon in a fire on one of his previous ships. It appears that the Event Horizon has returned with a supernatural presence that is using its occupants' personal torments against them. D.J. hears Miller's story, and says he listened to the original recording again; he now believes he was mistaken the first time: the voice actually says "liberate tutame ex inferis", or "save yourself from Hell". D.J. actually believes that the ship's drive successfully opened a gateway in space-time, but it actually led the ship outside the known universe and into another dimension, which must be close to the human concept of 'hell'.

    The scrambled video log is suddenly reconstructed; to the crew's horror, it shows the original crew engaging in a frenzy of torture, self-mutilation, cannibalism and sodomy, minutes after activating the gravity drive. The ship's senior officer, Cpt. Kilpack (Peter Marinker), is seen uttering the Latin message while holding his own eyes in his hands. With the Lewis and Clark now repaired by Smith and Cooper, Miller decides to abandon the Horizon immediately and destroy it, despite the strong objections of Weir. Miller threatens to leave Weir on the ship if he doesn't come home, but Weir says that he is "already home", and leaves.

    Smith and Peters prepare to evacuate by collecting all the Event Horizon's remaining oxygen filters at the gravity core. Smith leaves as quickly as possible, but Peters is lured back in when she sees her son again. She follows him to the upper level, and is led to her death by plummeting down a shaft as a result of being tricked by the manifestation of her son. Weir, having abandoned the crew and arriving at the core, discovers her body. He suddenly sees a vision of his wife, who committed suicide in her bathtub because she was lonely and he was never around. Stricken by grief and guilt, Weir is compelled by her reanimated form to return to the "hell dimension", and tears out his own eyes.

    Miller is inspecting the main corridor when he notices one of the explosives missing. He warns Smith over the com to be on the lookout for Weir. Smith, who is aboard the Lewis and Clark, checks the hold and sees Weir leaving. Suspecting that Weir may have put the bomb aboard the Clark, he feverishly tries to save his ship, but finds the bomb with only a few seconds left on the counter. Just as Miller arrives near the docking port, the Clark explodes, killing Smith and causing Cooper, who was still outside on the ship's hull, to be thrown into space. Miller grabs one of the bolt guns used to repair the Clark, and warns D.J. over the com to look for Weir and kill him, if possible. However, Weir gets the drop on D.J. and kills him with a surgical scalpel.

    Miller arrives at the medical facility and finds D.J.'s corpse, vivisected and left suspended from the ceiling. He continues to look for Starck, finding her unconscious on the bridge. He leaves the gun, but discovers that Weir is waiting there for him as well. Seemingly possessed by the evil presence on board and without eyes, Weir threatens them with the bolt gun, saying the ship became "alive" when it went to a dimension of "pure chaos, pure evil". He activates the ship's gravity drive, beginning a ten-minute countdown after which the gateway will open, and the Horizon will return to the chaos/Hell dimension with her new crew. Cooper, having used his space suit's oxygen to propel him back to the ship, emerges outside one of the windows, prompting Weir to shoot it. The bridge rapidly decompresses, and Weir is sucked into space, while Miller and Starck can barely hold on, escaping from the bridge before it is sealed.

    With Cooper back on board, the three survivors decide to implement the emergency plan by blowing up the ship's corridor and using its forward section as escape vessel. Starck and Cooper start making preparations in the forward section, when the stasis tank is suddenly filled with blood and ruptures, flooding them with a tsunami of blood. Miller arms all of the explosives in the central corridor and recovers the detonator for them, but he is suddenly confronted by the burning manifestation of his former comrade, and is forced to escape into the ship's gravity core.

    Inside the core, Miller again sees the vision of his comrade, which then changes into a scarred Dr. Weir (with eyes restored). Weir explains that the ship saved him and pulled him back inside. The ship is going back and it won't allow any of the human crew to escape. The two fight, but Weir is practically invulnerable. He viciously beats Miller and shows him visions of Lewis and Clark's remaining crew members being horribly tortured and mutilated. Miller begs Weir to take only him and spare the others, but Weir refuses, stating they must all go. Despite the horrible visions, Miller is eventually able to reach the detonator, which he then triggers, sacrificing himself. Weir screams, being denied the surviving crew. The bombs explode and split the ship in two, pushing the forward section away. The gravity drive then activates, pulling the rear of the ship into a wormhole, taking Weir and Miller with it. Starck and Cooper can only watch helplessly from a distance. With a wounded and comatose Justin, they place themselves into stasis for the return trip to Earth.

    The forward section reaches Earth 72 days later. Starck is the first to be awakened by a rescue team member; however, when he removes his helmet visor, it turns out to be a mutilated Dr. Weir. Starck suddenly wakes up in a distraught state, revealing she was having a nightmare; they have been awakened by a real rescue team. Cooper restrains Starck, as one of the rescuers calls for a sedative. But then, the automated hatch leading to the stasis chamber mysteriously seals shut behind the rescuers, implying the supernatural force still remains on the ship and is not dependent on the gravity drive.

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