- Resident Evil (film)
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson Produced by Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by Paul W.S. Anderson Based on Resident Evil by
Narrated by Jason Isaacs Starring Milla Jovovich
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography David Johnson Editing by Alexander Berner Studio Constantin Film
New Legacy Films
Distributed by Screen Gems Release date(s) March 15, 2002 Running time 100 minutes Country Germany
Language English Budget $33 million Box office $102.4 million
Resident Evil is a British-German 2002 horror film written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. The film stars Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, and James Purefoy. It is the first installment in the Resident Evil film series, which is based on the Capcom survival horror series Resident Evil.
Borrowing elements from the video games Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, the film follows amnesiac heroine Alice and a band of Umbrella Corporation commandos as they attempt to contain the outbreak of the T-Virus at a secret underground facility. The film received many negative reviews from critics but was commercially successful, grossing more than $102 million worldwide.
Inside the Hive, a top-secret genetic research facility owned by the Umbrella Corporation located beneath Raccoon City, a thief throws a vial of the T-Virus into a lab causing it to escape into the air vents. The vial breaks and the facility's artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, detects possible infection. It seals the Hive, trapping and killing everyone inside.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakens in an empty mansion with amnesia. She and a police officer, Matt (Eric Mabius), are seized by a group of commandos and taken to an underground train station that leads to The Hive. The group discovers Spence (James Purefoy), also suffering from amnesia. The head of the commandos, "One" (Colin Salmon), explains that everyone in the group except Matt is an employee of the Umbrella Corporation. The Red Queen released a nerve gas in the mansion that caused their amnesia. The group boards the train and travels to The Hive.
They find their way to The Queen's chamber, but it is protected by a laser defense system. Four of the commandos are killed including One. The only commandos left alive are Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Kaplan (Martin Crewes), and J.D. They set up an EMP device to disable The Queen. The AI manifests itself as the holographic of a young girl and pleads with them not to disable it, claiming that if they do then bad things will happen. The Queen's warnings are ignored; the system is disabled and the power fails, causing all of the doors to open, releasing the zombified staff into The Hive. During a running battle with the zombies, Rain becomes infected after being bitten and J.D is killed. Alice and Spence begin to regain their memories, but Matt and Alice are separated from Kaplan, Rain and Spence. Matt looks for information about his sister while Alice encounters several experimental dogs and surprises herself when she uses martial arts to defend herself.
Matt finds his sister, Lisa (Heike Makatsch), is already a zombie. As she attacks him Alice arrives in time to save him. Matt explains that he and Lisa attempted to smuggle out a sample of the blue vial, the T-Virus, to take down Umbrella. Matt believes that Lisa's contact is the one to blame for supposedly betraying her. Alice remembers she was Lisa's contact, but does not tell Matt. After being chased, the survivors reunite at The Queen's chamber. Alice turns The Queen back on in order to find an exit; the Red Queen agrees to help them. As they try escaping through the maintenance tunnels, they are ambushed by zombies. Kaplan is separated from the rest as pipes collapse while the group is crossing over them. Alice remembers that an anti-virus exists, a vial of green liquid.
At the lab they find the vials containing the T-Virus and anti-virus are gone. Spence regains his memory and realizes he was the person who stole and released the virus. He stashed the vials on the train. Spence gets bitten then traps the survivors in the lab then heads toward the train. Before he can inject himself with the anti-virus he is killed by a mutated creature called a Licker. The Red Queen offers to spare Alice and Matt if they kill Rain, who has been infected for too long for the anti-virus to work. As the Licker attempts to bash through the lab window to get to them, Rain tells Alice to chop off her head. After Alice smashes the monitor which the Red Queen was using to talk to them, a power-outage occurs. The laboratory door opens to reveal Kaplan, who has disabled the Red Queen.
The four survivors start the train before The Hive is quarantined again. As they head back to the mansion, the Licker hurls Kaplan from the train. Alice battles the Licker as Matt kills a now zombified Rain. After being clawed by the Licker, Matt opens a door on the floor of the train, causing the Licker to be dragged along the track and burned to death. Matt and Alice arrive at the mansion, escaping before the doors close. Matt begins mutating due to his wounds. Before Alice can give him the anti-virus the mansion doors burst open and Umbrella scientists seize them. They subdue Alice and take Matt away, revealing he is to be put into the "Nemesis Program" and they intend to re-open the Hive. Alice attempts to fight them off, but is overpowered and knocked unconscious.
Alice awakens at the Raccoon City Hospital strapped to an examination table. After escaping, she goes outside to find Raccoon City a chaotic abandoned mess. A newspaper clipping shows that the T-Virus spread to the surface after Umbrella reopened the Hive, creating an army of undead which devastated the city within hours. Alice arms herself with a shotgun from a nearby police car as the film ends.
- Milla Jovovich as Alice
- Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo
- Eric Mabius as Matt Addison
- James Purefoy as Spence Parks
- Martin Crewes as Chad Kaplan
- Colin Salmon as James "One" Shade
- Ryan McCluskey as Mr. Grey
- Oscar Pearce as Mr. Green
- Indra Ové as Ms. Black
- Anna Bolt as Dr. Green
- Joseph May as Dr. Blue
- Robert Tannion as Dr. Brown
- Heike Makatsch as Dr. Lisa Addison
- Jaymes Butler as Clarence the Security Guard
- Stephen Billington as Mr. White
- Fiona Glascott as Ms. Gold
- Pasquale Aleardi as J.D. Salinas
- Liz May Brice as Medic
- Marc Logan-Black as Commando #2
- Michaela Dicker as Red Queen
- Jason Isaacs as Dr. William Birkin/Narrator (uncredited)
In 1999, Sony and Capcom greenlit a Resident Evil film with George A. Romero signed on as the film's director and screenplay writer. Romero's association with Capcom, the Resident Evil video game series creators, had extended from 1998 when Romero directed an ad campaign for Biohazard 2 (Resident Evil 2) in Japan. Romero stated in an official appearance in Universal Studio's Talk City chatroom that he had his secretary play the entire game through and record the gameplay so he could study it as a resource. Romero's screenplay revolved around the plot of the Arklay incident and included characters from the Resident Evil video games. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine were the lead characters, involved in a romantic relationship. Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, Ada Wong and Albert Wesker were to also appear. The ending to the film would have been similar to that of the Resident Evil video game. Romero's script was disapproved of and production was placed into development hell. Capcom producer Yoshiki Okamoto explained to the editors of Electronic Gaming Monthly that "Romero's script wasn't good, so Romero was fired". In February 2000, Romero revealed in an interview with DGA magazine that "I don't think they were into the spirit of the video game and wanted to make it more of a war movie, something heavier than I thought it should be. So I think they just never liked my script." As Romero's script was a close, but not full, adaptation of the game, Capcom believed fans would feel that the film had been altered too much from the game and that newcomers would dislike the premise.
Hired by Sony, Paul W.S. Anderson wrote a screenplay, which was ultimately favored over Romero's. In late 2000, Anderson was announced as director and writer, and Resident Evil re-entered pre-production stages. Anderson stated the film would not include any tie-ins with the video game series as "under-performing movie tie-ins are too common and Resident Evil, of all games, deserved a good celluloid representation".
In early 2001, Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy and Milla Jovovich were the first of the cast to be signed on the project. David Boreanaz was intended to portray the male cop lead of Matt Addison; however, he turned down the role to continue work on the WB series Angel. Boreanaz suggested that he was in negotiations to have a smaller role in the film claiming "Resident Evil is still there, a possibility, So, yeah, I'll see what happens", he later declined the role. The role of Matt Addison then went to Eric Mabius who was cast in March 2001, along with Heike Makatsch, who was cast as Matt Addison's sister Lisa Addison, an employee working for Umbrella's Hive facility.
Production and story development
In early March 2001, it was announced that half of the film would be shot in Adlershof Studios in Berlin and its surroundings. On 5 March 2001 shooting began principal photography at numerous locations including the then unfinished station U-Bahnhof Bundestag of the Berlin U-Bahn, Landsberger Allee, Kaserne Krampnitz and the Schloss Linstedt. Locations included The Spencer Mansion and The Hive. The film's ending in Raccoon City was shot in Toronto, Canada. Filming concluded and post-production on the film began on 19 May 2001.
The film's score and soundtrack were composed by Clint Mansell, Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson during mid 2001. Manson described the score and soundtrack as being more "electronic" than any of his other previous work.
The film was originally subtitled as "Resident Evil: Ground Zero" when the movie was considered a prequel to the games, however the subtitle was removed due to the 9/11 attacks. The film's first plot as of March 16, 2001 revealed that Jovovich's Alice and Rodriguez's Rain were the leaders of a commando team sent in to prevent a viral outbreak from spreading to the rest of the world, however those details were later changed.
The film contains various references to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; the obvious being the main character's name, another is the use of a white rabbit for testing the T-Virus. The wall that opens to the train station appears as a mirror (Through the Looking-Glass), the Red Queen and her behavior, wanting to behead/kill people, are references to the book; the Red Queen's first kill is actually a beheading. In addition, the Red Queen's character was added into the film's story as a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey an allusion to HAL 9000.
During production, professional dancers were hired to star as zombies as they had better control of their body movements. While computer effects were used on some zombies, much of the undead appearances were accomplished through make-up while their movements were a more laissez-faire approach, as Anderson told the actors to move however they thought a zombie would, given their conditions. Whilst filming, there was a shortage of manpower where the available dancers were not enough to represent the required numbers of undead, however some of Capcom's executives and several of the film producers including Jeremy Bolt agreed to make appearances. The film's stunt coordinator also made an appearance as the dog trainer while Bolt's girlfriend and sister both appeared as zombies.
Marketing and release
In March 2001, the official website was set up, which revealed the film's original October 26, 2001 release and a redirect to the film's distributor Constantin Films. The website was fully opened in July 2001, and composed of images, plot info, character biographies and downloads. The film was planned to have a R-rated classification, however was overruled by Anderson, claiming he wanted a PG-13 rating as it would best suit a younger audience. In January 2002, the film was officially announced to contain a R rating.
In May 2001, it was announced that Sony Pictures Entertainment would distribute the film in North America. It was suggested by Capcom executives, that the film wouldn't be released in 2001, but rather in 2002 which was later confirmed by Sony in August 2001. The film was set for release on 5 April 2002 before being pushed forward to a 15 March release.
In December 2001, Sony gave fans a chance to design the film's poster with a prize of an undisclosed amount of cash, a free screening of the film, and with the final design being the film's poster. On February 16, 2002, Nick Des Barres, a 23-year-old aspiring actor and ex-video game magazine designer, was announced as the winner of the competition. The film's trailer and clips were released in late January and early February 2002.
On June 29, 2004, over two years after the film's release, a novelization by Keith R. A. DeCandido was published. DeCandido also wrote novelizations for the second film, which was published only two months later, and the third film in 2007.
Resident Evil received many negative reactions from the critics and received a 34% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 121 reviews. Robert K. Elder from the Chicago Tribune stated that the film "updates the zombie genre with an anti-corporate message while still scaring its audience and providing heart-pounding action", Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly noted that the film is as "impersonal in its relentlessness as the videogame series that inspired it." 
Both Resident Evil and the sequel appear on Roger Ebert's most hated films list, published in 2005. In the review of Resident Evil, Ebert describes the film as a zombie movie set in the 21st century where "large metallic objects make crashing noises just by being looked at." He also explains that the film's "characters have no small talk. Their dialogue consists of commands, explanations, [and] exclamations."
The film opened in 2,528 theaters and was commercially successful, grossing $17,707,106 on its opening weekend (March 15-17 2002). The film gained $40,119,709 domestically and $102,441,078 worldwide.
After commercial success at the box office, a sequel, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, was released in 2004. This was followed in 2007 by Resident Evil: Extinction and in 2010 by Resident Evil: Afterlife. Anderson did not direct the second and third films due to filming commitments with Alien vs. Predator and Death Race but instead functioned as the scriptwriter and producer on both. These films were directed by Alexander Witt and Russell Mulcahy respectively, while Anderson returned to direct the fourth film in the franchise. 
Relationship to the games
Various elements are borrowed from numerous video games including Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, where Alice's character awakes in Raccoon City Hospital with a viral outbreak occurring in the city. There are several references to characters and organizations such as the Umbrella Corporation, the Nemesis program, the underground train bearing the moniker "Alexi-5000" a reference to Resident Evil Code: Veronica's villain Alexia Ashford (the train is from Resident Evil 2, but in the game it reads "Galaxie-5000" instead of "Alexi-5000") and a police cruiser, from which Alice takes out a shotgun, has a "S.T.A.R.S." logo on the hood. Jason Isaacs appears in the film as an uncredited masked surgeon (which is a reference to William Birkin). The character of Dr. Isaacs (played by Iain Glen) in the film's sequels is dedicated to or based on him.
Other references to the first game include Alice examining the mansion by going outside; crows are visible for a very short moment. These crows were all digitized. In the video game series, crows are minor enemies that the player encounters throughout each game. Alice finds a picture of her wedding day with Spence, which is the same style as the photos in the first version of the Resident Evil game: in black and white with the foreground image (in this case, Alice and Spencer) noticeably spliced onto the background (the room behind them). On the newspaper at the end of the movie, the words "Horror in Raccoon City! More Victims Dead!" are shown in the upper right corner. This is a reference to the same newspaper in the censored opening of the original Resident Evil game and the prologue chapter for the Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy novel. Near the beginning of the film, Alice examines a statue after the wind blows its cover off. This statue is similar in design to one in the mansion of the first game, and which contains the map of the ground floor.
When going back to the Red Queen's chamber, Kaplan points out that the four bodies of the group's dead crew from the Glass Hallway Trap sequence are gone. This is a reference to a noticeable trait in the games, where when a character leaves the room where they have killed zombies and then comes back, the bodies that were once there have disappeared. The film also borrows a plot element from Resident Evil 2 in which Leon and Claire have to escape the underground labs by taking the train and have a showdown with a large creature in the back of the car. When the survivors make their escape from the Hive with a countdown as they fight the final boss, this is a reference to the Resident Evil game which ends with a five minute countdown during which the boss must be defeated.
A faux newspaper created by Screen Gems for Apocalypse, The Raccoon City Times, indicates hours after the initial outbreak, creatures began appearing in the Arklay Mountains feasting on victims. This is similar to the opening of the first video game.
Anderson has stated that the film's camera angles and several shots allude to the video game's camera angles, such as the fight between Alice and the security guard. These include a scene near the beginning where there is a close up of Alice's eye. This is a direct reference to the title screen of the first game. In another scene, Alice awakes and hears a creepy sound which is also a reference to the plot of the first game.
Numerous elements from the film have been referenced in several of the Resident Evil video games after the film's original release. This includes the laser corridor sequence which appeared in both Resident Evil 4 (where Leon S. Kennedy has to evade a security trap) and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (where Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine have to evade a trap in Umbrella's Russian facility). The film's font is used for the North American version of Resident Evil Outbreak. The character of Red Queen made an appearance in Umbrella Chronicles as a computer database system.
The main 'boss' in the film, (the T-virus injected human tissue) is a "Licker" from Resident Evil 2.
Alice is introduced as a mysterious "woman in red", as does recurring Resident Evil character Ada Wong. This is further motioned by the fact that even though Alice didn't know it, her combat training is that of a highly trained soldier. This mirrors Ada's role in Resident Evil 2, other than Ada intentionally keeping her true self a mystery to protagonist Leon Kennedy.
Resident Evil was released on VHS and DVD on July 30, 2002 in the United States, April 14, 2003 in the United Kingdom and October 2002 in Australia. It was a special edition release, with a number of documentaries including five featurettes, one of which explained the making of Resident Evil, the film's score composition, costume design, set design, zombie make up tests, and the music video for a remixed version of "My Plague" by Slipknot.
A Deluxe Edition of Resident Evil was released on September 7, 2004, which included new special features such as an alternate ending with director Anderson's video introduction, a clip compilation for Apocalypse, From Game to Screen featurette, a Storyboarding Resident Evil featurette, and 6 other exclusive featurettes: The Creature, The Elevator, The Train, The Laser, Zombie Dogs and Zombies.
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- Official website
- Resident Evil at the Internet Movie Database
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- Resident Evil at Rotten Tomatoes
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