Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
Got more questions about news letters?
Already have an account? Log in here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
We encourage our community to report abusive content and/ or spam. Our team will review flagged items and determine whether or not they meet our community guidelines.
Please choose best explanation for why you are flagging this review.
Thank you for your submission. This post has been submitted for our review.
Sincerely, The Rotten Tomatoes Team
The one that started all the numb fun
based on a vid game i think is amazing
"Nothing ever changes."
An incredibly observed techno-flavored haunted house which nonetheless serves as a prevalent chamber thriller on all accounts of anti-corporate madness. Resident Evil transcends genre after genre through the ideal representation of what an exemplary adaptation should be and the sheer innovation to behold within such infinite pleasures, within distressing environments made to emotionally encompass every character, and as Paul W.S. Anderson is persistently transposing and expanding on the franchise's video game sensibilities. This couldn't be a more consummately superlative, first-rate beginning to perhaps the greatest franchise out there in terms of its remarkable artistry, an entrancing playground of form, and a bloody boost to the resulting origins when it's essentially a prequel to the first installment where it all began. A fulfilling genre mystery reflected against the linearity of a single character journey, one with enough embellished core pleasures taken from a well-known name (like any successful adaptation should achieve instead of prioritizing typical fan-service pandering) and pure genre delights for preserving Anderson's dazzling ambitions underneath an equally exceptional template that is best left intricate throughout the rest of his mesmerizing creations and chapters.
No influence is above reference or homage. We're living in Paul W.S. Anderson's world and with just about each of his spellbinding concoctions - an existent choreography of human entities and spaces, flesh and blood, memory and reality - the classicist nature of the narrative are as confident as they come while developing a signature surface style, but additionally by rapidly changing and shrinking/broadening the transfixing environments - depending on the objective - like levels. The leading characters are each framed inside their environments, their horrors, accompanying stock feelings and conversations as the new norm in a capitalist controlled society where we can't even see how much it's impacting us. Always paying attention to movements within spacing, observing how the main characters are affected, and occupying potent horror vibes which surround every chilling chamber, invariably implying an invisible danger just around the corner. Anderson fills those open spaces, in addition to lingering and moving through the brilliantly aggressive spacing with kinetic hesitance, with bodies - the majority of which are mangled, mutilated, reinvigorated, or having vanished, end up being watched by an unassuming corporate presence.
Like the video game series that inspired the celluloid insanity, Resident Evil's postmodern take on traditional horror values proves impersonal in its relentlessness, reversing multiple iconic moments from both transgressive and classical horror pictures, and propelling an assembly of delicious, magnetized construction against abstract, controlled motion. Each immaculate scene retains their very own euphoric blasts of well-choreographed, pristine action and viral affections beneath a top-down observatory creation whose AI's deliberately inhumane attempt to control the issue reflect an evident theme of supreme tycoon terror and the ill-advised reliance on artificial functions. Although his formally refined aesthetic isn't as smooth as it will become in the futures chapters, Anderson's masterful compositional skills position him apart from his higher-budgeted contemporaries and render entirely moving in its containment, relative to the biblical grandiosity the series would later achieve. The film itself unfolds like a series of tasks and extraordinarily exhibits his space through narrative progression and discernible action with key moments going as far as to reveal themselves like "press X to examine" pop-ups. Necessarily a case study in design where every piece of a diegetic visual element is thematically representative of the protagonist's journey, furthering anthropomorphic modernism by contrasting aseptic environs with images of bloody concrete and rusted metal.
"You're all going to die down here."
Enter the 21st century. The nightmare begins with a comprehensively informative background on the Umbrella Corporation's political and financial influences felt around the globe - the world's leading supplier of computer technology, medical products, and healthcare, but behind closed doors, its massive profits are generated by military technology, genetic experimentation, and viral weaponry. Of course, it's stationed for a crucial, yet preeminent reason - to further structure the incoming prowess and intellect taken against pure capitalism; those it barbarously damages on the manifestos of corporate monopolies that exist in detached and dehumanized states right before RESIDENT EVIL materializes across the screen. From the beginning alone: it's both vastly admirable and ingenious to incorporate this type of advanced character/worldview study from a demanding perspective, especially throughout six complete installments. Templates of architecture, having lost any sense of pragmatism within a nihilistic world of computers, construct artifice and visual by reveling in its gracefully articulate images which remain less artificial than those of Afterlife and Retribution.
Whereas these two later installments organically adjust the focus of the saga on artifice and abstractions in taking a sharp turn for the fantastical, Resident Evil deeply roots itself in raw humanism prior to estranged human forms who found themselves marooned in a corporate hellscape coming to realize that the only way they could survive was by stripping away their assigned industrial roles and, in turn, become the brothers and sisters they were destined to be. Thus, we're then quite literally taken into the endless nightmare via a pitch-black zoom-in of the t-virus's underground containment, The Hive, with Marilyn Manson's ingenious score of techno horrors and unadulterated adrenaline counting down the terror, often allowing for his non-diegetic sonic proxy for capitalist authoritarianism to take center stage through the sound mixing. One immediate example of Anderson's demonstrative penchant for visually specific music cues being the particular set-piece of the undead's entrance - the oppressive monolith finally disgorging the disfigured corpses of its wage slaves - beginning with a slow-motion shot of Michelle Rodriguez breaking a zombie's neck and juxtaposed alongside Manson's "Cleansing." At the first moment a silent tone was heard, every sequence generates a new beat until further expanding into an unstable frenzy, similarly to the virus, starting as a single cell, multiplying into a massive amount within seconds. A national anthem of viruses which infiltrates the senses like a warped Alice in Wonderland.
Consequently, the t-virus is released and while the artificial machine they *successfully* built to protect their well-being and control every aspect of their environment calculates their doom, average laboratory workers proceed with their uniform days, making small talk, spilling coffee on themselves, etc. Wholly unremarkable. The stable nine to five existence of the middle class dreamed of in a post-WW2 society as illustrated by the film's take on this dream: employees walking into an artificial depiction of buildings and light outside windows much like in a film set, an entire area monitored by cameras where we see the environment through their viewpoint, from the perspective of corporate surveillance. Science-fiction set up as an accident: the genetic virus spreads throughout the complex, but the genius part is how the virus is not depicted as killing anyone for the zombies don't immediately rise and start killing the workers. What kills everyone in the complex relies on behalf of the facility's artificial intelligence system by way of poison and "accidents." All destroyed in a moment of pure paranoia by the corporate machines we depend upon so much. Additionally, it's one of the few pre-apocalypse scenes from the entire franchise to which it seems like subterranean mazes provide housing machines and monsters that occupy the singular purpose of killing you. Where the act of dying has been reduced to something utterly abstract, life becomes a little more existent than that of a video game and thus our story begins with the loss of identity inside an established world order. Valuing characters and human individuals even the audience knows very little about, yet it's emotionally palpable once one understands the ominous implications of interchangeable identities and all the reluctant efforts and reliant connections these characters make toward a hostile force with capitalist countermeasures, transcending the desire to survive with each tremendous moment. Years later, Anderson takes it to a sincerely beautiful level.
"Makes it easier to work underground, thinking there's a view."
The Red Queen, both the aforementioned artificial intelligence system of The Hive and an unaffected corporate presence which always watches over its confined captives, leaves no victims to bear further torment, essentially turning them into what they were initially and begging the incredible question: what if we're the zombies already? Programmed to ensure that no one leaves: less for the safety of the *outside* world and more so to remain in control. Underneath the mindless population being able to accomplish nothing but submit to the power of corporate slavery, God proving indifferent to our fate, and our agency serving as the most horrifying thing we can allow corporations to have control over... Resident Evil offers, no, scratch that, ruthlessly blasts hope beyond the destructiveness of privatization until you just want to take down every bloodthirsty company yourself. The seizure of power. Take the title literally. What is the residing evil in the film? Beside the cinematic extermination of the human race at the hands of a vague, impersonal, technocratic elite, here's a viciously sanguine, terrifying (not through literal ways) story of people returning the favor by fighting back against their oppressors. Anderson's formalism befits the new century in more ways than one upon the anti-naturalism and effect-laden nature of his work, primarily utilizing meticulous imagery as a visual stylist, cherishing spaces like no other, and provoking more memorable images than in all the MCU films put together.
Alice awakens to her own nightmare without memory, without reality, and so forth with nothing but pure instinct and her natural abilities acquired from before the accident took place. The residing evil becomes navigating a disaster of our design where we have forgotten what we were and don't know where we are headed, where chaos and horror are inherent to every environment, every corner and hallway. Discovering the world around her, Alice both begins and ends on a chessboard, first when she awakens, indicating that level one has begun, and once again after escaping The Hive, symbolizing the characters' own pieces within a monumental game of endless proportions and the skillful moves of a video game, but level after level, no matter the courage or strength applied, the conflict never ends. The facility itself leaves more bodies than the zombies do: they are mere mockeries of unaware workers, mutated to eternally work the corridors of capitalism without question or deviation. They're always watching those they seek to control, sapping their subjects of all control, leaving them stranded in empty corridors and neither of which hold escape. The same metallic hallways as the horrific extension of corporate greed. When capitalism has taken away identity, memory, and the individual, all that's left are the purity of our instincts. A perfect metaphor for a flooring sense of hopelessness when no matter how hard the characters try and escape from captivity, they always find themselves tangled in a greater maze. It's truly difficult to imagine another Hollywood picture, let alone an action flick, that so resolutely refuses any sort of triumph for its protagonists to such an incredible extent of one defeat after another, gut punch after gut punch. Even when Alice manages to achieve a goal outside of basic survival and her failures at reaching every other goal throughout the disorienting dread and paranoia, it's later invalidated by another loss.
Depicting an environment of conformity for Milla Jovovich (or Alice - they're the same person at this point), more or less Anderson's penchant for repeating shapes and patterns, she attempts to recover her identity within, following the visual sequence of Alice waking up in a brilliant blank slate, uncovering her face in the mirror, then dresses, walks through a room covered in repeating squares from the ceiling to the floor, looks out the window and is hit with a memory flashback - a furtively complex deconstruction of collective and identity. Her introduction serves as rather haunting among the echoed trauma and historic, intriguing mystery, even if I can't quite put my finger on the cause. It's simply unnerving in the subtlest ways once some thought is given to waking up in an amnesiac state with an enormous underground laboratory beneath you, as the sun sets around an immense, vacant mansion. We don't know how much of what is to come has been pre-arranged at this stage in the story, how much the concrete artificiality (Red Queen) is recalculating on the fly in response to the actions of humans, both good and evil. Alice's role in the experiment isn't yet apparent and all this is merely setting the stage for what is to come atop a seemingly never-ending underground metallic labyrinth. Or Paul W.S. Anderson's version of hell. The iconic costuming plausibly create the modern action/final girl template of the 2000s. A girl with an impractical skirt, combat boots, and a gun sometimes is a film... in which Jean-Luc Godard said it best when stating, "All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl." There's always catharsis at the very end behind every satisfying pump of her shotgun.
"I don't want to be one of those things. Walking around without a soul."
Unlike similar characters with certain powers, Alice surfaces as an extremely unconventional heroine for her abilities aren't a result of gaining a heightened awareness of who she is, who she was before she lost her memory was a victim. By understanding the fragments of her past (Matthew using the narrative of love and trust to manipulate her; Rain and the other mercenaries having no use for her), she's further victimized, yet her eventual truth is that she doesn't care about the dream, the stable nine to five society because that was never her life. Her life is born in this Umbrella facility, in the chaos of the modern world where her heroism comes from being able to deal with the failed, lost results of past dreamers, as the turn of the century found its footing, so follows the journey of Alice: the precariat of our society of which is as uncertain and unanchored as Alice is in her own world. Every perfunctory, dramatic turn are both filmed and performed with utmost sincerity, reaching their crescendo when Alice broke down in tears for her complicity in the Umbrella Corporation's misanthropy whilst those human moments of camaraderie, desperation, or even brazen love register as small, albeit not insignificant acts of rebellion against the emotionless effect of corporate fascism.
Through the leading characters' poignant inclinations and emotional reactions caught in the moment of time does the minimal use of dialogue come into significant play. The rarely utilized key to unparalleled development beyond any spoken intellect. Interacting with user interfaces and early in-game monitors broaden the peculiar pleasure of Anderson's slick translation into the 3D maps of The Hive, although, it's not like any further access to wanting to rotate the maps myself would increase one's understanding of Resident Evil's spatial logic. Environments prevail as identifiable, rather than puzzling impressions, and Anderson places plenty of faith in the audience to memorize the progression of the descent or, at the very least, a mental map of the inner designs. Even upon already explored areas once the team initially infiltrates The Hive while traversing back from the deepest niches of the subsurface inferno, through the formerly exhibited loading bay, and then back to the train for a full-circle traversal calling back to his 3D maps and every lattice, every sharp-edged polygon being presented with robust clarity. Video game military/corporation imagery and interiors linger across its own legacy; corporate grays and sleek metallics living the perfect palate for blood and the delicate gore of the laser room.
Nothing. Ever. Changes. No matter the eventual outcome, Alice carries on the video game franchise's history of human goodness and makes rescue an exceptionally adamant point vs. otherwise current zombie media which has become a nihilistic show of survival of the fittest. Her amnesiac personality leaves the center of its core left open; she cares about the weak, plain and simple, yet as she'll be shaped by nothing but running and killing, she's still able to shed tears. Bodies and identities conversing with one another, breaking free of the barriers and bonds which physical space inevitably present, the suffocating, vacuum-sealed boundaries we are trying to work inside and break out of on a spatial level, exactly like a video game. To take charge of your body around the collision between body and identity through which Umbrella seeks to possess Alice's physical being for their controlling agenda, but lucky for them, she's fighting back, even with the denial of the right to take control of who you are. About the struggle to break free from algorithms and the limits set by codes other people have written for you.
"We're all gonna die down here."
"No. We're getting out. All of us."
What if the whole world went away? The final scene confirms Paul W.S. Anderson's thesis: Alice stumbles out of an abandoned hospital into a desolate Raccoon City, subject to the corporate-medical gaze after the chaos of the Umbrella facility has exploded into the wider social venue. Police cars are abandoned; the Raccoon City newspaper reads: "THE DEAD WALK." The remains of an incredibly violent collapse are present as the camera pans out, but we don't see any zombies around. His message couldn't be more clear: the scientific management fantasies of CEOs have reanimated after death and we're left with the eternal conflict, perceptibly shown by the concluding shot, panning out of Alice pumping her shotgun into an era of the purposeful aftermath and empty humanity around her. No one is safe, no one is stable, and everyone is subjected to dehumanization and destruction without justice under capitalism. The conflict will never reach an end. No one is immune. No one can escape. No one leaves Umbrella alive.
This is a modern classic! Very fun movie with some creepy scenes that you wont forget!
This is the first of the franchise and not terrible by any means. It's calculated, it's cool, and you root for the characters in their B-movie charm. But some of the FX are dated severely. Most of what they had, it works well in translating it from game to screen. People that love the videogame, hated it. I played it and enjoyed it, but I wasn't in love with it. But, I did enjoy the movie. I remember seeing this with three friends. Two liked it (me included) and the other two despised it. The two that liked it, had played it and liked it before moving on. The other two were die-hard fanatics of the game. But you can tell that they tried the game settings and added that to it. You can tell they had the dogs. Many zombies. Some calculations to make it stand on its own. The game is about characters you like: Wesker and Barry. This movie didn't have that, but had Alice and the Red Queen. Both intriguing, and felt it faithful. I like both the movies and the games. Both are well defined, but for creepiness, the games are far creepier. But movies, a few jumps in there, but mostly it's action. Good B-movie fun, and that's all it should be.
Re-watched again for the first time in about 15 years and surprised by how well this holds up. Some of the martial arts are a bit over the top, but overall it's really fun and has some genuine scares.
Exactly the right movie at exactly the right time. The music and atmosphere, the sets and costume design, the special effects, the cast. Everything lined up perfectly for a young shaggy. That kid was a gothy nerd with love for video-games, horror, industrial music and Mila Jovovich. This movie managed to check all the boxes. Watching it now, it still pretty much holds up. Maybe a little cheesy but stylish and entertaining.
Three stars for watchability, one for nostalgia.
Resident Evil did have some good moments, but the horrible effects and illogical story ruined the experience.
Its really hard to make a video adaptation be successful. I personally enjoyed this movie. I wish it stuck with more of the source material. I was never bored, so thats a plus.
Awesome film. One of the few successes of an adaptation from video game to movie.