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Resident Evil

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Resident Evil
Resident Evil.jpg
Resident Evil 2.jpg
Genre: Horror
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Produced By: Bernd Eichinger
Samuel Hadida
Jeremy Bolt
Paul W. S. Anderson
Written By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based On: Resident Evil
Starring: Milla Jovovich
Michelle Rodriguez
Eric Mabius
James Purefoy
Martin Crewes
Colin Salmon
Cinematography: David Johnson
Distributed By: Constantin Film Verleih (Germany)
Pathé Distribution (United Kingdom)
Metropolitan Filmexport (France)
Sony Pictures Releasing (United States)
Release Date: March 15, 2002 (United States)
March 21, 2002 (Germany)
April 3, 2002 (France)
July 12, 2002 (United Kingdom)
Runtime: 100 minutes
Country: Germany
United Kingdom
United States
Language: English
Budget: $33 million
Box Office: $102.4 million
Franchise: Resident Evil
Sequel: Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil is a 2002 science fiction action horror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. The film stars Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, and Colin Salmon. It is the first installment in the Resident Evil film series, which is loosely based on the video game series of the same name. The film was initially titled Resident Evil: Ground Zero but was retitled after the September 11 attacks.

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.


A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.

Bad Qualities

  1. Despite borrowing elements from the first two games, there is no connection to the Resident Evil universe with the cast made up of primarily original characters. Although this wasn't the fault of the filmmakers.
    • It should also be noted that the film is based on a script Paul W.S. Anderson had wrote for an entirely original film before being approached by Capcom to make a Resident Evil movie.
  2. Instead of having the focus be primarily on horror, the film is filled with lots of dumb zombie action with things like Milla Jovovich roundhouse kicking a Cerebus.
    • While the Resident Evil video game series itself would eventually take this more action turn, it's still something most fans don't prefer.
  3. The CGI (even at the time) looks terrible with the Licker, particularly when it breaks out of its crate being the worse. Admittedly, this was around the time CGI was just coming around and the film has a much lower budget, but still, there were other films at the time that did a better job.
    • Speaking of the CGI, there's also too much CGI since there are things that are CGI'd when they can easily be practical; this includes, the shell casing when Alice fires the last bullet, the case holding the strain when it's thrown, the Cerebruses, and more.
  4. While the soundtrack is good as mentioned below, it doesn't really fit the movie that well since the tracks are hyper and over-the-top with the action scenes not being as much.
  5. Despite its attempts, the film isn't scary since there isn't any build of tension and instead relies on cheap jumpscares.
  6. Executive meddling: Part of the reason why the film so loosely follows the universe of Resident Evil is because Capcom feared a more faithful story would turn people off buying the games.
  7. Plot holes:
    • The whole thing could've been avoided if the team bothered to ask why the Red Queen had wen homicidal or if the Red Queen herself gave a clear explanation since she had a very good reason. This does happen, but by then it's way too late.
    • Critical research error: Hair and nails don’t keep growing after death; they appear to, because after death, a body dries out, causing soft tissue to shrink slightly. This wouldn't be so bad if one of the human characters said it, but a supercomputer making the same mistake is a different story.
  8. Most of the characters are one note with no depth or character development. The worst of these is Rain who tries too hard to come off as a badass.
  9. The Red Queen doesn't fit into the Resident Evil series since there's never been any hint of their being a supercomputer in the lore.
  10. False advertising: Many of the posters make as if Michelle Rodriguez's character, Rain, is one of the main characters when in reality she's a side character.

Good Qualities

  1. Decent cinematography.
  2. The pacing is okay.
  3. Decent acting throughout especially Milla Jovovich.
  4. The story itself is actually pretty decent.
    • The plot revolves around the idea that the T-virus has been released in an underground Umbrella lab, the Hive, by an unknown thief. The main character, Alice awakens in the bathroom of a deserted mansion with temporary amnesia. She dresses, checks the mansion, and is tackled by an unknown person as a group of commandos led by James Shade breaks in. Alice's attacker is cuffed and then released when he claims to be Matt Addison, who just transferred as a cop in Raccoon P.D.. Alice and Matt are ordered to go down to the Hive with the group, where they find another amnesiac, Spence, hidden in their train. The commandos explain that everyone in the group except Matt is an employee of the Umbrella Corporation, and Alice and her partner Spence were assigned to guard the Hive's secret entrance under the mansion under the pretense of being married. As the film continues it's revealed that Alice was a contact for Matt's sister, Lisa, who were both going to expose Umbrella for their illegal experiments. Spencer, however, overhears their plan and is revealed to be the thief who unleashed the T-virus and was going to steal the virus so he could sell it on the Black Market so that he and Alice can spend the rest of their lives in luxury.
  5. Great soundtrack by Marilyn Manson who manages to compose tracks that blends apocalyptic horror with powerful heavy metal.
  6. Passable direction from Paul W. S. Anderson.
  7. Some of the action can be fun to watch.


Resident Evil received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and fans alike. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 35% based on 130 critics and a weighted average of 4.52/10. The consensus reads, "Like other video game adaptations, Resident Evil is loud, violent, formulaic, and cheesy." At Metacritic, the film has an average score of 33 out of 100 based on 24 critics, signifying "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.

Robert K. Elder from the Chicago Tribune stated: the film "updates the zombie genre with an anti-corporate message while still scaring its audience and providing heart-pounding action", while Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly noted: the film is as "impersonal in its relentlessness as the video-game series that inspired it".

Both Resident Evil and the sequel appear on Roger Ebert's most hated films list, published in 2005. In his review, Ebert describes Resident Evil as a zombie movie set in the 21st century, where "large metallic objects make crashing noises just by being looked at", and he criticizes the dialogue for being a series of commands and explanations with no "small talk".

In 2014, filmmaker James Cameron named Resident Evil his biggest guilty pleasure.

Box Office

The film opened in 2,528 theaters and grossed $17,707,106 on its opening weekend (March 15–17, 2002). The film grossed $40,119,709 domestically and $103,787,401 worldwide.