I'm trying to identify an old movie (quite possibly 20+ years old). Clearly science-fiction.

What I remember:

  • some spaceship had a mission somewhere in the universe
  • something bad happened, and everyone died
  • a woman (researcher, detective, whatever) is sent to the spaceship to investigate
  • during her work, she sees the "ghosts" of the crew members. I have no idea if they are really ghosts, or just movie effect to present what what she sees in her mind
  • the ghosts seem unaware of her presence
  • at the end of the movie, a ghost (a man's ghost) becomes aware of her, approaches her and attacks her.
  • the end. Or, at least, the end of what I remember.

So, anyone has any idea what movie this could be? I would really like to see it again, to actually understand it.

Additionally: I have the feeling that this is an "important" movie, I might have encountered references to it occasionally. But please do not take this as a hard statement.

Update: I saw the movie on TV, there is a very high probability that it was a US movie, in English. I draw this conclusion based on how the details of the ship looked like, the general style of acting, the movie-making technique...

  • Did it perchance involve finding logs where the former crewmates apparently mutilated each other and claimed to have traveled to Hell?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 14:04
  • @FuzzyBoots: beats me! Maybe yes, maybe no, but I have no recollection of any other details, unfortunately.
    – virolino
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 9:03
  • How many Investigators were sent? Was it a Team, with the woman as a member or leader? Or ONLY the Woman arrived onboard to do the investigating?
    – NJohnny
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 8:16
  • 1
    As far as I can remember, the was only one woman onboard - the investigator. The other characters were ghosts / images. Except the last ghost, which is aware of the woman - at the end of the movie.
    – virolino
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 8:40
  • @virolino: Did you ever manage to rule out Event Horizon?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 12:00

4 Answers 4


This sounds like it has some matches with the 1997 film Event Horizon.

In 2047, a distress signal is received from the Event Horizon, a starship that disappeared during its maiden voyage to Proxima Centauri seven years earlier, and has mysteriously reappeared in a decaying orbit around Neptune. The rescue vessel Lewis and Clark is dispatched. Its crew—Capt. Miller, second-in-command Lt. Starck, pilot Smith, medical technician Peters, engineer Ensign Justin, doctor D.J., and rescue technician Cooper—is joined by Dr. William Weir, the Event Horizon's designer. He briefs them on the ship's experimental gravity drive with a simple visualization of how it folds space-time. The distress signal seems to consist of a series of screams and howls but D.J. believes he can discern the Latin phrase "Liberate me" ("Save me").

Upon boarding the Event Horizon, the crew finds evidence of a massacre. As they search for survivors, the ship's gravity drive activates, briefly pulling Justin into the resulting portal and causing a shock wave that damages the Lewis and Clark, forcing the entire crew to board the Event Horizon. Justin emerges in a catatonic state, as a result of what he has seen on the other side. He attempts suicide by decompression, but is saved by Miller, forcing the crew to place him in stasis.

The crew begins seeing people from their pasts that only they can see, hallucinations corresponding to their fears and regrets. Miller sees Corrick, a subordinate he was forced to abandon to his death; Peters sees her son, who she left with her ex-husband, with his legs covered in bloody lesions and Weir sees an eyeless vision of his late wife who killed herself, urging him to join her. They discover a video log of the Event Horizon's crew fornicating and mutilating each other shortly after first engaging the gravity drive. The log ends with a shot of the Event Horizon's captain, holding out his own eyes gouged from their sockets, speaking the complete Latin phrase from the earlier distress call, which D.J. translates as "Liberate tutemet ex inferis" ("Save yourself from hell").

Deducing that the ship's drive opened a gateway to a hellish dimension outside the known universe, and that the Event Horizon has somehow attained sentience, Miller decides to destroy it and orders an evacuation. Peters is lured to her death by a hallucination of her son. Weir, who has gouged out his own eyes and is possessed by the evil presence, uses an explosive device to destroy the Lewis and Clark, killing Smith and blasting Cooper off into space. Weir kills D.J. by vivisecting him and corners Starck on the bridge. Miller confronts Weir, who overpowers him and initiates a 10-minute countdown, at the end of which the Event Horizon will return to the other dimension by activating the gravity drive.

Cooper, having used his space suit's oxygen supply to propel himself back to the ship, appears at the bridge window. Weir shoots at him, shattering the window and is blown into space by the ensuing decompression. Miller, Starck and Cooper survive and manage to seal off the ship's bridge. With their own ship destroyed, Miller plans to split the Event Horizon in two and use its forward section as a lifeboat. He is attacked by manifestations of Corrick which turn out to be the resurrected Dr. Weir. Miller fights him off and detonates the explosives, sacrificing himself.

The gravity drive activates, pulling the ship's stern section into a black hole. Starck and Cooper enter stasis beside a comatose Justin and wait to be rescued. 72 days later, the wreckage of the Event Horizon is boarded by a rescue party, who discover the remaining crew in stasis. Starck sees Weir posing as one of the rescuers and screams in terror, but Starck wakes up and realizes that it was a nightmare. Cooper and the rescue team comfort the newly awakened and terrified Starck as the bulkheads unexpectedly close.

It involves an entire team coming to the spaceship, but Starck is indeed female, and is one of the remaining survivors. She does see "ghosts" while on the ship, including apparently one very near the end. And it is an oft-discussed film which is considered to have been much better than the critical reception of the time treated it.


One non-matching things is that the ghosts seem very much aware of the recovery crew, and malevolent at that. Also, Starck is the XO of the Lewis and Clark, not a researcher, although Peters, also in the film, is the medical technician.


A possible match for part, though perhaps not all, of the question is "Dark Matters," season 1, episode 10 of The Outer Limits (1995 series).

In this episode the "transport vessel Nestor" with a small crew of four becomes trapped in a starless space with strange geometry (an attempt to get away from another ship causes them to loop back to it). In this space they discover a ship, the UNS Slayton which had mysteriously vanished 10 years before. The Slayton is derelict, populated only with the bodies of its crew, but when people from the Nestor explore it they start to see ghosts both of the Slayton's crew and aliens from an unknown alien vessel. Both Commander Manning and crew member Erin Whitley are seen exploring on their own and seeing ghosts, but mostly the crew acts as a group.

So far there are a lot of points that match, but now what doesn't:

  • The ghosts do show they are aware of the crew of the Nestor and even talk to them.
  • There is no attack by a human ghost; the human ghosts are friendly and willing to help. Even the aliens aren't actively hostile, just unable to communicate.
  • It's mostly a group effort; there aren't that many situations where people are alone for extended periods of time.

The show does end with a last visit from a ghost as they successfully escape the space, but it's a goodbye visit. (Pilot Paul Stein's brother Kevin was lost on the Slayton, and dealing with Stein's unresolved issues is a sub-plot of the episode.)


Could be Doom


Space Marines are sent to investigate strange events at a research facility on Mars but find themselves at the mercy of genetically enhanced killing machines.

If so the "researcher" is played by Rosamund Pike


  • Maybe I should reconsider the 20+ part :) DOOM is surely not it - it is too "recent"... But nice POV, I never thought of DOOM as an investigation movie.
    – virolino
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 6:10

My guess is "Solaris" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_(2002_film)

  • 1
    The investigator in both versions of Solaris is male.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 8:23
  • 2
    You should edit this to explain how it matches the description given in the question and why you think it matches.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 10:57
  • 1
    There was a third, earlier (Soviet TV) version of Solaris -- but that one was close to the book, rather like the Tarkovsky (1972) version, hence the protagonist was male.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 11:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.