Resident Evil is a 2002 science fiction horror film loosely based on the video games Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2. The two most prominent actors are Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez, each playing characters whose names have far too little importance to matter. The plot mostly revolves around a team of highly trained soldiers going down into a secret facility, known as “The Hive,” to determine why it ended up shutting down and leaving everyone down there to die.
Now, if you saw the words “Resident Evil” and didn’t have a basic idea of what to expect, you should read more about the series. In essence, it is a brainless zombie movie. The only real difference is that the “zombies” aren’t actually zombies, but are instead humans infected by the “T-Virus.” What does this virus do? It makes them act exactly like zombies. Their primary goal is to feast upon flesh, and all other survival instincts go out the door to work towards this goal. How did this virus get unleashed upon the world? This is explained through a series of flashbacks throughout the film, starting with a basic one, and then adding about another 10 seconds onto it each time a character decides to jog the main character’s memory.
The protagonist, in this case, is Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, who begins the film lying in her tub wondering why she is there. An amnesic Alice soon has an entire team taking her down to the aforementioned secret facility in order to find out what is going on down there. Apart from Jovovich and Rodriguez, the majority of the cast is pretty much interchangeable with everyone else. Character development is pretty much non-existent, and having all the characters look quite a lot alike doesn’t help you tell who is who. In order to even understand what is going on, knowing what character is doing what is certainly a bonus, but Resident Evil doesn’t seem to understand this.
The plot of the film actually did seem to make some bit of sense, but always being confused as to where you are in “The Hive” makes it kind of hard to follow. The motivation to even go down there in the first place is something that I had to think hard about to even remember. It basically seemed like a reason to go and kill some zombies. Without a real reason to go down, it makes it even more difficult to care whenever a character gets picked off by the creatures.
Resident Evil is based on a video game. Those adaptations are almost always very bad.
The majority of the creatures that the team faces do look fairly believable, except for the biggest one that only appears near the end. The CGI looks decent on this one, but you can certainly tell that it was CGI. The actual human-looking zombies do look pretty believable, though. You can tell that quite a lot of work went into making them look like creatures of the undead, and that is definitely appreciated. It makes it seem like there is a slightly realistic threat for the majority of the film, despite them rarely feeling scary.
This is a film that is supposed to be a horror film. It really didn’t feel like one. Sure, the cramped spaces and numerous threats are basically all you need to make a film feel scary, but there weren’t any scenes that would make you feel remotely scared. It certainly isn’t going to be a film that will give you second thoughts about sleeping the night after you watch it. It becomes more action oriented than horror by the end, and the only scenes that could be considered horror would be startling jump scenes. I’m aware that most horror movies do rely on jump scenes, but they only startle you. To truly scare an audience, you need to build up a scary atmosphere. That is the best way to give the audience a true sense of fear.
Resident Evil is based on a video game. Those adaptations are almost always very bad. They are loud, possess no character development, and ultimately make no impact on the entire industry. They are nothing films, and more often than not waste the audience’s time. Resident Evil fits into a few of these clichés, but it certainly does not waste your time. It has a clear-cut goal: make a fun zombie movie. It accomplishes that goal. It is a film that has a lot of problems, and certainly isn’t all that good, but it is at least enjoyable to watch. Do not go in expecting a scary film, though, as you will be very disappointed.
Conclusion: A loud, dumb, and not very scary movie, Resident Evil is a little bit of fun, but it’s not a good movie.
Recommendation: If you want to see the entire Resident Evil franchise, the first is a must. If you don’t, you can feel free to skip them all.