Friday, 6 April 2012

Resident Evil (2002) - Zombie Horror Film Review

It seems strange that one of my favourite horror films of all time I have yet to review on my beloved blog. Saying that my other favourite horrors (Halloween, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Evil Dead, even Battle Royale) also have not been reviewed (when this was first written). Resident Evil is directed by Paul W.S Anderson and stars Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) as Alice; a woman in a red dress with no memory.

The film starts with an unknown person releasing a deadly virus into the labs of the Umbrella Corporation. The security computer (known as the 'Red Queen') reacts by sealing the labs and killing all the workers stationed there in a variety of fun and gruesome ways. Later on in a mansion a woman (Jovovich) wakes up naked in a shower with no memory of who she is. Wandering around the mansion she encounters first, a strange man snooping around, and then a commando team who literally burst into the place throwing smoke grenades and flash bangs everywhere in a display of over the top bravado.  The team leader; One reveals his team have been dispatched to the mansion as it is a secret entrance to the underground labs where everyone was killed at the films start. His team are to investigate what caused the A.I to go crazy and kill everyone. Soon (well over 40 minutes into the film) it is revealed the virus released was a zombie virus that has turned all the staff of the facility into brain dead flesh eating zombies. The team, and the hangers-on must now work together to escape the facility.

I love this film, really love it.  It has a awesome NIN sounding soundtrack by Marilyn Manson, plenty of action, and cool effects. Many people say the best part of the film is its iconic laser corridor of death in which most the films characters are killed off in violent slicings. This scene was later actually incorporated into the video game Resident Evil 4.  The film is very badly directed but this leads to its innate charm. Characters float from location to location, often travelling in between scenes, or a little map screen effect that charts their movement, so one second they can be in labs, then next scene a sewer etc.

The acting is fairly terrible but again this is a good thing, especially seeing the reference material the film was based on. Michelle Rodriquez is her usually bad girl self, full of angry scowls, and token grimaces, Jovovich is good as the action star, her abilities growing as her memory returns. A cool sequence where she takes on zombie dogs is always fun to watch. The scene where her memory comes back is always great, and the fantastic twist ending is by far the very best part of the film and worth the trip to get to.

The zombies are not that great, they sort of act as a collective so are always bunched together, no real threat.  The licker is a fun end of film boss even if it does look a bit naff with its low budget CG effects. This works as a Resident Evil film with many nods to it, whether it be musical cues, or game type effects.

I love Resident Evil, it is very entertaining, and well watchable, its flaws adding to the experience rather than detracting. The directors commentary is also very funny with Anderson, Jovovich, and Rodriquez making fun of the film as they comment on it. The best film of the series so far, and the only one which could be considered canon to the games.


UPDATE: 29/03/2020:

I have recently rewatched this one again and it still stands up as a very enjoyable film. It is big dumb fun, and is really idiotic and stupid, but that is what makes it so damn good. The soundtrack is still fantastic, and that final shot of the!


Arion said...

Definitely a good zombie movie. I've see the Resident Evil sequels but they have let me down. This one, though, I'd be willing to watch again.

Daniel Simmonds said...

I was hyped for 2 after this but was very let down, the others have not been much better.

JD said...

Big fan of this film, but most of the sequels have left me cold, especially the latest one. Slo-mo is getting boring!

Zombie Games said...

tbh, the original game (1st and 2nd) was alot better then the movie... thogu, I loved mila :P