Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by Philip Eisner
Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, Kathleen Quinlan, Richard T. Jones
My Advice: Matinee.
Okay, let me say this right out of the starting gate. I eat pepperoni pizza and watch Dawn of the Dead at the same time, okay? I am not one to let myself get overly disturbed by a film; the last instance of that was Jacob’s Ladder. But this film left me completely and utterly unable to sleep. This has never happened before. So I look at this film with a great deal of respect, despite its flaws.
Plot: A superhightech spaceship disappears and then reappears seven years later, and a team is sent to investigate. First, let’s get some things out of the way that are obvious problems: Some of the laws of physics are not just broken but sneered at. Also, somewhere along the line Eisner thought to himself, “Cenobite.” There is a question about a particular recording and how far-fetched it is that everyone’s forgotten how to speak Latin other than one guy on a spaceship. But there’s a lot of other things that make you think those things later: A harrowing sequence in an airlock, a really messed up clue of what happened to the ship’s original crew, and the production design with a ship sure to please any black-eyelined leather-wearing goth.
Fishburne plays his leadership role as a pillar of strength. Neill is creepy as all hell. The rest of the crew establish themselves well, so you care about them surviving when the shit starts to fly, a lesson forgotten in cousins of this flick, for example Alien Resurrection (and no, I will never cease bashing that piece of crap). A welcome film from Anderson (who gave us the enjoyable guilty pleasure of the Mortal Kombat film) and a first outing from Eisner, it’s a hoot.