Just when you’ve written off this deep-space nightmare as a late-summer melange of Alien, Fantastic Voyage, The Shining, and a dozen more forgettable otherworldly thrillers, it unleashes some of the most unsettling horror imagery in years. In 2046, a spaceship voyages beyond Neptune to find out what became of the Event Horizon, an exploratory vessel that vanished into the universe seven years earlier. When the lost ship is discovered, with geysers of blood spattering its walls, we’re cued to expect the arrival of some intergalactic beastie. But the demon turns out to be more abstract than that — and, in its way, much creepier. The ship has been through a black hole and back; in a nifty reversal of Contact, the film suggests that what’s waiting out there in the cosmic void is far more sinister than anything in three dimensions. As the captain, Laurence Fishburne, working with a barely written role, turns himself into a soldier of stoic cool (even his voice is square-jawed), but he is finally staring into the face of hell — a De Sadeian theater of violated flesh, served up in razory shock cuts that dig into your subconscious. Event Horizon could have used a decent script, but the director, Paul Anderson, is a stylist to watch. B-
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