SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
A rescue team is launched out to Neptune when a signal is sent from a ship that hasn't been heard from in 7 years. Turns out the ship was doing some fancy space-folding experiments, and it also turns out that when you travel outside of normal spacetime, bad things ensue. Bad things ensue.
A lot of gore, a lot of crazy people.
3/5 Captain's Logs.
Something like 3. There are also two people who are launched into an evil chaos dimension, but we'll have to count them missing in action. And there's the entire crew of the missing ship, but I only count deaths that occur during the course of the movie.
Morpheus is here, piloting a ship that is remarkably similar to the hovercrafts in The Matrix. I gotta think there was inspiration there (this came out two years before The Matrix).
The best moment would probably be when we see the ship's engine core for the first time. That's an odd best moment, but it's because the best thing about this movie really is the set design. This giant spaceship which is built like some kind of demonic cathedral, with a puzzle-box for an engine, a meat grinder leading to the engine room, and doors that seal shut with spikes for no reason at all. It's not realistic, and I'm sure OSHA would have something to say about the working environment, but that's entirely not the point. It's just sort of amazing and completely sets the tone.
I'm sure this doesn't really qualify as a worst moment, but it's what came to mind. When the giant ocean of blood comes pouring out, all I could think about was how it was clearly too expensive (or just messy?) to load it up with enough coloring to actually make a deep red, so what we end up with really looks just like Kool-Aid. You can tell it's colored water rather than something thick and dark like blood, and I just couldn't put my brain into ocean-of-blood mode, all I saw was red water.
A Suspension Bridge Too Far:
Speaking of suspension, the captain's chair in the rescue ship is totally silly. If you really keep your eye on Laurence Fishburne in that chair, you'll see him just sort of gradually spinning around, facing nothing in particular, going in circles, for the duration of any scene he's in it. He looks lost. It's a spacey concept for a chair (it hangs from the ceiling and can slide back and forward on a track, and rotate), but not a very logical or useful one. Especially if he just sits and spins all day.
Well you know
we had blood dripping from above! Then of course we had the assorted hallucination tropes (see the silhouette behind a sheet, yank the sheet back and see nothing; see somebody, turn to tell somebody else and the person you saw is gone; believe a hallucination so much you just follow it even though it makes no sense and then fall down a hole).
I heard that the original concept of this movie was "The Shining
in space", and while the similarities there are obvious, the real massive inspiration behind this movie is clearly the Hellraiser
series. It's all up in there. We almost have Pinhead even, by the end. Overall, I wanted to like the movie, because it has an amazing style, and space-horror is always a good idea, and the core concept is something I always enjoy, but while it seems to be building up to something good (or something horrific at least), the last third just kind of falls apart. Or rather, it doesn't fall apart. It just doesn't get crazy enough to justify all the style. The guy who goes crazy (all space and no aliens makes Homer something something) doesn't have this gradual descent that you want, where he's broken down and loses it, he kind of just suddenly snaps all at once (well, and he's pretty messed up from the get-go), and it doesn't ring true or feel right. I read that about half an hour was trimmed from this movie, and that may have been to its detriment in that regard. And then the crazy guy's super-strength (and return from death) is really the only sort of demonic presence we encounter. I was ready for a full-blown descent into Clive Barker's mind, and we pretty much just got space-captain brawl action instead. And a giant ocean of blood, but come on, when isn't there a giant ocean of blood?
The engine room is basically a sphere, with giant, man-sized spikes jutting out from the walls everywhere. And not once
does somebody get impaled on them. Somebody even falls into that room from high above and still manages to completely miss them. It's almost perverse. Perhaps the craziest thing in the whole movie.
Keep your eyes in your face, where they can do the most good.