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Let’s Talk “Resident Evil” When It Was Still Horror!

Resident Evil

UMU takes another look at the original “Resident Evil” film before it became a little more Mission: Impossible/Mad Max and a little less Night of the Living Dead. Connections are also drawn to 2017’s “The Mummy.”

resident-evil-1.28012It’s crazy to think about the first time stumbling upon Resident Evil and what really attracted me to it. I must have been 11 years old when Resident Evil came out; I was going nuts when the trailer first appeared on my television set.  Being a fan of the original Capcom series for the Playstation 1, I already had a head start into the world of survival horror.  I was ready to dive deeper into the world of viral devastation with Paul Anderson’s 2002’s live action adaptation.

The content in the original film was quite shocking to say the least.  The entire intro was by far one of the best and intricate openings I have ever seen. The description and details pertaining to the highly commercialized Umbrella Corporation and it’s mark on society gave the viewer an interesting look at, would you call, a brave new world?  As the film quotes “In public, it is the world’s leading supplier of computer technology, medical products and healthcare” and doesn’t hold back any possible intentions “Unknown even to it’s own employees, its massive profits are generated by military technology, genetic experimentation and viral weaponry.”  Already that gives the virgin viewer contemplating what exactly Umbrella is up to. The establishment and introduction Umbrella receives, gives off a certain political impact which truly notes who’s running the show.  During this opening sequence, the audience gets to enjoy an extensive 3d computer generated modeling of what is known as “The Hive”, Umbrella’s concealed headquarters, placed miles below a mansion, under Raccoon City, where our story takes place.  Add an incredible haunting soundtrack scored by Marilyn Manson himself, and you have the beginning of a movie franchise that would last 16 years. This is the film that started it all.

The fact Resident Evil (2002) was adapted after being known as an aged horror game series, there was a lot to look forward to. The RE film series is known to bring exact characters straight from multiple RE games, and even brought their background story along with them.  One character you will not find any trace of in these games happens to be the main protagonist in our film, Alice (Milla Jovovich) who is mysteriously thrown into our plot.  Alice’s introduction to the film arose many questions when first meeting her.  Awoken, confused and above all naked, we watch our unidentified character as she climbs out of a shower all bruised and beat up with no memory of where or who she is.  Alice dresses and explores the dark cold mansion before being tossed into a spiral race for survival while searching for her identity and what part she plays under Umbrella’s thumb.Resident EvilAlthough fans of the game may have different opinions regarding if she belongs in the series at all, well the answer to that is hell to the frickin’ yes!  Something about sexy, beautiful women carrying firearms and kicking undead ass gets my blood pumping.  During the mansion reveal we are introduced to a special forces unit who has Umbrella marked all over them. These men and women look serious as hell (Wardrobe and Props killed it) with top of the line tactical gear and weaponry; this group of highly trained soldiers forcefully enter the mansion and find themselves in a horror show they would never be prepared for.  Eventually we learn from special force leader One (Colin Salmon) that Alice and her husband Spence (James Purefoy), whom we meet later, are joined in a fake marriage hired to protect the entrance to the Hive, directly connected to the mansion they reside in.  They’re all employed under Umbrella, save for one other man in the group Matt (Eric Mabius), suspiciously in the mansion at the beginning of the film.

Milla Jovovich brought a whole new flavor to the Resident Evil series that it needed in order to take off.  It’s crazy to see where Jovovich has come from in her acting career.  From Michelle in Dazed And Confused (1993) and of course Leeloo Dallas in The Fifth Element (1997), she’s done it all.  Milla’s character Alice was the perfect role that would star her in 6 fully packed films to date, with the most recent installment coming in 2017.  Only a short time to see where Milla takes us next in The Final Chapter.

Resident Evil

When watching Milla single handingly take out each blood thirsty opponent she faces, I do get a sense of Edward Van Sloan’s Van Helsing from Dracula.  Once the true threat is discovered and the team is thrown off their rockers, it’s Alice who stands up and takes care of business.  Seeing the similarities in these characters gets me hoping the same will become of Tom Cruise in the upcoming Universal reboot The Mummy.  Cruise will definitely have some shoes to fill taking on the role of the protagonist, but then again it’s Tom Cruise. That’s plenty of reason to have high hopes for his upcoming film.  There is a difference between Milla in Resident Evil when compared to Van Sloan and the rest of Universal’s Monsters, and that’s Alice and her role becoming the main protagonist and only true survivor of the Resident Evil series.  This is a complete new take on horror, where as Frankenstein and The Mummy, each of these monsters find their way back; expanding the story of which they live in.  In Resident Evil, the evil never runs dry and continuously threatens the human race.  Film after film, Alice still has her arsenal locked and loaded and she wont quit until Umbrella and the rest of their plague is wiped off the earth.

Resident EvilBut let’s take another look at the connections between the original Resident Evil and The Mummy.  Often times fans have considered Imhotep and his cohorts to be “zombies” and, in many respects, the mummies of Universal fame are zombies.  They’re both undead!  The overall plot of Resident Evil follows a covert team of soldiers infiltrating a bunker and navigating a labyrinth of terror.  Now let’s take a look at what we know about The Mummy, which has been written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus and Doctor Strange).  We know that The Mummy follows a team of soldiers that awaken The Mummy and that several aspects will explore “hidden labyrinths” – doesn’t both of those plots sound alike?  According to an earlier plot leak, the soldiers first encounter The Mummy in a bunker beneath the sands and while Resident Evil doesn’t take place in the Middle East, they do infiltrate the Hive, located under Raccoon City.

Between Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez, both of these woman brought the perfect mixture, not only in sexiness but incredible strength.  This duo puts their male counterparts to shame.  They’ve got each others backs, and step up when no one else can.

You can’t talk about Resident Evil without bringing up the film’s fitting soundtrack.  Marylin Manson brought this flick to life creating the perfect theme.  Like piecing together a monster, Manson combines metal, electronic and a hint of claustrophobic ambiance to create the opening track which perfectly aligns with the 3D graphic I talked about earlier.  The soundtrack also includes remixes from the bands Depeche Mode, Rammstein, Static- X, Fear Factory and Slipknot, and that’s only half the bands whose music can be found on the full tracklist.

It’s kind of interesting to think ‘What if Resident Evil was made as the classic monster movie of the 30’s.’  It would probably be my all time favorite!  To picture how the Production Designer and the Art Department would have created their version of the Hive would have blown my mind.  One can dream about who would be cast as Alice, Rain and my favorite from the team, One.  Between all of a film’s departments, i would have loved to see what our film forefathers would have done specifically with the film’s cinematography, storyline, wardrobe and props.  Maybe one day I’ll get to film my own version of the apocalypse, on the agreement both Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez team up! One last time for the real “Final Chapter.”

What if Resident Evil was made as the classic monster movie of the 30’s… what kind of film would it be in tone and concept?  Sound off in the comments below.

(Rick Vaca – @unclebaphomet)

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