Another franchise retrospective movie review marathon is here! Ingrid and I will be diving into the Resident Evil franchise. Are the films as infamous as everyone claims? Well let’s find out shall we? The first movie, written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, comes off more as a side-story to the videogames as opposed to a straight adaptation. If this was the only movie that had been made, it wouldn’t have been out of place too much.
Right out of the gate, we’re introduced to a VERY naked Milla Jovovich as Alice, a woman who wakes up with complete amnesia. Not long after waking up, and putting on a little red dress and black boots, the house/mansion she’s in gets raided by a bunch of Umbrella soldiers. She and another amnesiac young man are taken down into The Hive, an Umbrella Facility that has worked on the T-Virus.
Apparently the facility’s AI, aka the Red Queen, has gone rogue and slaughtered everyone inside. What we later learn is that someone has stolen and unleashed, the T-Virus, and the Red Queen took extreme measures to ensure that it didn’t get out. Once they shut her down, she warns them quite bluntly “You’re all going to die down here” And many of them do! Shutting her down opens the doors and unleashes the zombies!
Now, this being the first movie, Alice is just a badass normal as her memories come back to her more and more. The zombie action is pretty good, the writing, while cliché, fits within the standard zombie aesthetics, and gives us a lot of character beats and action.
By the end of it all, things play out very Resident Evil like (only the countdown is for the Hive sealing up, not blowing up) and it ends on a cliffhanger…that sets up Alice in the middle of RE 2&3…yeah we’ll talk about that next time. This film is tightly contained, both in terms of scope and narrative, within the walls of The Hive. While it certainly wasn’t the adaptation game fans were probably expecting, there’s a few nods to the source material and enough juice to get past the unfamiliar characters and set up.
Since we’re doing a retrospective, I will say that this installment is the most horror-oriented of the films by far with excellent pacing and payoff in the first half, especially once Anderson drops the amnesiac Alice and a team of Umbrella-employed commandos in a house of horrors and slowly turns up the heat. Overall this movie was really good and possibly even one of the better movies in the franchise, but NOT the best like some claim.
We’ll get into that more as we continue on. Check out our discussion below.