So one of my goals in 2021 was to continue to expand my knowledge of horror films after finally admitting to myself that I do in fact enjoy the horror genre, albeit selectively. It seemed a no brainer to include the Resident Evil movies, starting with the first film in that series: Resident Evil.
Before I talk about the movie itself, I should make it perfectly clear that I have never, ever, played a single Resident Evil game (nor do I intend to) and aside from knowing about some of the more nasty monsters (like Lickers), I really don’t know anything about how the games work or how they connect, if at all, to the Milla Jovovich series of movies (I’m aware the 2021 reboot is a more direct adaptation).
All that being said…I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying Resident Evil for the most part. The initial set up with the Red Queen and the Hive is pretty scary, and I felt particularly bad for the scientists caught in the flooding lab. I also like how the film takes its time in revealing the big threat of the film, i.e. the zombies. Though speaking of the zombies…I have to wonder if Resident Evil takes place in a world where zombie movies don’t exist. Because, thinking back, it takes the group an awful long time to realize that there’s something really, REALLY wrong with the first zombies they encounter.
Once the zombies *are* introduced to the story and recognized as the threat they are, well, that’s when things get really interesting. There’s so many jump scares with those zombies I lost count. I wasn’t sure I would make it, to be honest, because zombie movies really do scare me, but thankfully the story kept the action moving enough that I didn’t have too much time to think about it.
Two of my favorite actors in this movie were Milla Jovovich as Alice and Michelle Rodriguez as Rain. I really liked how the story gave Alice amnesia so that she starts the movie knowing nothing about the situation, thus putting her in the exact same position as the audience. As Alice learns about the situation, so do we, so we have something in common with her.
I’m also a really big fan of the Red Queen, the malevolent AI Alice and company find themselves up against for most of the movie. This movie is further proof that artificial intelligence will someday be humanity’s doom (in fact I almost included this movie in my dissertation because of the Red Queen) and I love the role she plays in the latter half of the film.
That’s not to say that Resident Evil isn’t without significant flaws, because oh my God are there some glaring flaws in this movie. The most notable of which is the godawful CGI for the Licker. Oh my lord, I CRINGED when this creature first emerged and I cringed every time it appeared thereafter. I can’t even give the year as an excuse for how bad the CGI looks, because the early 90s CGI in Jurassic Park looked better than this travesty. It’s almost like the animators were 2/3 of the way done with the Licker and just decided to stop. Even the “mutated dogs” looked better than that monstrosity. I also take issue with the reveal of how the T-virus was let loose in the first place. If you’re trying to escape with a sample of the virus…why are you letting a sample go? I’m probably overthinking it but I thought it was pretty stupid of that character to set the T-virus loose like that.
Flaws aside, I did enjoy Resident Evil, enough in fact to continue watching the series (though that is a story for another day). It’s flawed, sure, but few movies are perfect.
Let me know what you think about Resident Evil in the comments below and have a great day!
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