Paramount Home Entertainment releases a 4k Blu-ray edition of Event Horizon on August 9, 2022, to celebrate 25 years since its theatrical premiere in 1997. The film was previously restored and remastered in 4k for a 1080p Blu-ray edition that was released in 2021. This 4k Blu-ray edition features new artwork on a SteelBook case that’s wrapped in a transparent slipcase with imagery that overlays the case images. The 2-disc edition with 4k Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and Digital Copy has an SRP of $30.99.
I had recently watched Event Horizon on TV in lackluster resolution, so I was very excited to learn that there would be a 4K Blu-ray release of the film. I had seen the movie years ago, but it never really registered how good a film it was. Event Horizon premiered in 1997 and only made $40 million at the box office on a $60 million budget. But after the release went to home video, the sci-fi started to gain more traction as a quality film with evergreen potential.
Make no bones about it, Event Horizon is a horror film that is not for the squeamish. Paul W. S. Anderson, more widely known for the Resident Evil franchise, delivers a horrific psychological thriller (what he refers to as a ghost film in outer space) that tortures the imagination.
“We’re leaving this ship.” – Captain Miller
Written by Philip Eisner, the premise of the movie is that a starship named the Event Horizon with an experimental gravity drive disappeared and was presumed destroyed, but seven years later it was found orbiting Neptune. Captain S. J. Miller (Laurence Fishburne) captains a ship named the Lewis and Clark to find the Event Horizon. His crew is joined by Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), the man who designed the Event Horizon and the drive’s ability to “fold time.”
When the crew realizes the Event Horizon had gone into some sort of time rift and was devastated by an alien species, it is too late. Without giving away any more of the plot let’s talk about the 4K Blu-ray presentation of the film.
The 4k presentation of Event Horizon features Dolby Vision and HDR10 to expand the color depth up to 10-bits. The added bit depth really helps with the sci-fi genre of films which typically skew towards the darker range of values created by dramatic lighting. Meaning, more details and color can be seen in the shadows.
Event Horizon on 4k Blu-ray peaked at times in the 80Mbps range, but typically played at around 40-50Mbps depending on the scene. There are some shots that are very sharp, especially in closeups. A small number of shots are not so sharp, presumably because of the shallow depth of field where only inches may be in focus in the frame. However, the not-so-perfect elements don’t detract from the movie.
Some of the most beautiful imagery is of the Event Horizon and the Lewis and Clark in orbit, as well as the gravity drive when activated. The production design looks exceptional in 4k, as do the special effects and explosions that benefit from HDR.
“When she crossed over she was just a ship, but when she came back she was alive.” – Dr. Weir
The English audio is provided in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel, as well as French in Dolby Digital 5.1 channel. Subtitles are offered in English and French. The Blu-ray provides the same English Dolby TrueHD format as well as additional subtitles.
The 48kHz TrueHD audio streams at about the 5-6Mbps range with music, sound effects, and dialogue engaged. In the more quiet moments, it dips down to about 4Mbps.
Dialogue is very crisp in this mainly frontal approach and offers good dynamic range.
The high-impact low frequency sounds really push your subs. For example, at 49 minutes and 50 seconds a sequence of sounds of the “alien” pounding on steel doors will have you jumping out of your seat. The sound design is really what pushes this movie to be more of a psychological thriller.
The events that lead up to the finale of the movie really escalate both visually and audibly. The surround sound effects improve as the ship is blown apart and captain score tries to save it. I just wish there was a little more audio happening in the rear speakers. It seemed the rears and sides mainly activated when there were explosions or doors opening behind the subjects.
All of the bonus material is featured on the Blu-ray Disc which includes legacy material such as director and producer commentary, making-of documentaries, deleted scenes (with or without commentary), and more. New interviews with cast and crew that were included in the 2021 Blu-ray edition are not part of this Blu-ray print.
Event Horizon is packaged the way physical media should be. A transparent slipcover for the SteelBook shows the Event Horizon overlaid on an image of an eye with a reflection of the experimental gravity drive and Dr. Weir. The inside of the SteelBook case displays an image of an astronaut (presumably Captain Miller) looking at the drive and its infinite spatial qualities.
On 4k Blu-ray with HDR Event Horizon becomes an even stronger film within its genre, highlighted by sharp imagery, excellent production sets, and beautiful cinematography. The soundtrack really drives the “thriller” characteristic of this film, albeit with sort of a goofy track under the opening credits. The A/V presentation, combined with combined with convincing performances by the cast, create a great home theater experience for the sci-fi/horror fan.