Film Corner: Resident Evil 1

Resident Evil 1

KISSMATE: We're starting a brave and bold new project, my dear followers. Ana Mardoll and myself shall be dual-livetweeting a special series of movies. Resident Evil. All Six of them. Grab your sunglasses and cheesy lines, we're going in loaded! A bit of background: I know the games pretty well and know the main actress, Mila Jovovich, was married to Paul Anderson at the time. I haven't heard good reviews on this series (esp from the fans) so I know I'm going into a shark tank without a cage. Let's dive!

Already, the movie starts out like the video games (the newest ones especially). Text that floats across a technological background and talks about Umbrella Corp. and Raccoon City. Not too bad so far! So Umbrella is Amazon. It's everywhere and is almost all powerful. We see someone take a gun full of green science away, while breaking a blue science behind him. This causes a building full of scientists and office workers to be locked down inside. Panic ensues.

While the fire alarms blare, we a sealed room fill with water and an office floor fill with halon. All while people are inside, now suffocating or drowning. The elevators drop several stories while the people inside fail to open the doors. Fuck. It's clear someone is watching through the cameras as it swivels around to find the Biohazard (ha) floating around. I don't know how, but it's still early!

As a woman tries to squeeze through the elevator, the camera sees. The elevator then acts as a guillotine and chops her head off, though in a cut away so we don't see the reactions or gore. Still fucking tense, though! A woman wakes in a marble shower, as if she passed out while getting in. She finds a red dress waiting on her bed and a note saying all her dreams will come true. She acts like she has memory loss as she rewrites the note to find the handwriting doesn't match.

Oh, and a drawer full of weapons with a locked glass cover that she doesn't remember the PIN to. You know, the usual thing you'd find under the shirt and panties drawers! An Umbrella camera follows her through the mansion, but as she tries to leave, shit goes down. Soldiers burst in and secure her and this other guy (Matt) who just randomly shows up. Matt is a cop who just transferred in. And they're all here why again?

Something to note: They call her "soldier" and try to get her to "report" to them. She's confused. A soldier mentions the mansion's defenses activating might have affected her memory. We still don't know what, but it's all we know about Red Dress.

So far, the story has yet to show itself fully and we have no names for anyone that might be important. Hell, I think the only important one right now is Red Dress, and she doesn't even know thing one about herself! That said, the atmosphere and tension is done well enough. Music is good and is actually a helpful guide. The shots are pretty and the setting is nice. This is a very nice-looking movie so far. 15 minutes in and I can tell I'm not going to be bored by the other 75.

They head to the cellar where a subway train is just THERE. (I'll buy it since games.) They meet a man who also has memory loss. Red Dress gets a vision that she's married to him. When she looks at her wedding ring, it reads "PROPERTY OF UMBRELLA CORP". Creepy... Are these two possibly the property of Umbrella? Are they genetic experiments? Scientists? The mansion was owned by Umbrella, with Umbrella train, boxes, and cameras. Are they some kind of Project? This is all so mysterious and I feel answers are an hour away.

FINALLY, ANSWERS! Red Dress and Fake Husband are operatives protecting the entrance to the Hive, a huge underground science facility. Their marriage and their lives were all faked to protect the Hive. I still believe that they were experiments in some fashion. They passed out because of a memory-loss nerve gas released into the house. The reason for it? The building we saw in the beginning was the Hive! So when the building went murder-happy, so did the mansion! Oh, this is getting interesting!

As they go forward (down?) they mention that the Red Queen, a state-of-the-art intelligence, is locked onto them. She was the one going through the cameras and killing everyone! This team was sent out to shut her down and find out what happened. Oh, hey, that sealed lab with the guy trying to break the unbreakable glass! It looks flooded with only a few holes in the glass. And there's the female scientist floating by... Guess it didn't work out for them...

The two not-married talk about not remembering anything. Then they all move on. I will give props to this "military" team acting very professional and always keeping each other informed and protected. I would want this team on my side! As they all move into Dining Hall B, they notice it's more of a store room than a mess hall. The soldiers act confused, but the cop (forgot about him!) says it's probably a secret that Umbrella doesn't want anyone to know about. Makes sense. We see that the iron boxes contain beings with exposed brains with tubes and needles going into it, but we still don't see anything exact. My money's on lickers!

At the Red Queen's Chambers, they're having some problems getting in. Most of the team gets stuck in a glass hallway after the Red Queen sees how close they are to her. As the hacker tries to get them out, lasers start to fly in their direction! No one in the room survives. Only one soldier is left, the hacker, and he's VERY hesitant about continuing the mission. After seeing my team get sliced and diced by fucking HAL9000 in a dress, I'd be pissing myself too! I didn't expect most of the fodder to get killed in one scene, but it was a very tense and creative way to kill them all, so I guess I can't complain. But at the same time, who will feed the Lickers now? Not Red Dress! She's in the other five movies!

Just Red Dress and Hacker are in the Chamber Room. They EMP the Red Queen, who looks like a little British girl? What, the killer computer trope wasn't enough? Had to go for the creepy ghost girl too? Apparently, she's "modeled after the head programmer's daughter". And no executive thought that it was a bad idea? "Ah, yes, we know you love your child, but what about something more professional, Chadworth? Perhaps a buxom young woman, or British male model?"

Red Queen begs for them not to hurt her, but Hacker does it anyway. The lights go out, then come back on. Doors and locks get reset or opened, releasing some unknown things in our heroes' way out. It's never as easy as turning off and back on again, is it? The three in Dining Room B start hearing things and split up to find the source. Female fodder gets bit by a zombie before putting it down. One of the male fodders ponders how the zombie sponged the bullets and female fodder waves it off with a badass one-liner.

Odd how no one knows what a zombie is, but this came before all the genre-savvy zombie movies so it gets a pass. Examples of "genre-savvy" zombie media are Zombieland, Walking Dead, etc. They notice odd things about the "survivor" that bit female fodder. Like how it should be dead, but is still moving and attacking. Then the hoard comes. Many old-fashioned, old-school undead zombies start shuffling towards the group, surrounding them. Show time!

...That sequence was better than sex. A tense action scene of survivors in a gun fight surrounded by the undead. Tied up cop trying to get out of his restraints while a flaming zombie looks for fresh pork. A person dying to a zombie hoard fighting over who eats the giblets. I miss old zombie movies.

They go back to the Chambers to regroup (sans Red Dress and Cop). In fact, it's hard to see who is still alive. The camera is too close to the faces for me to get a good look. Oh, and the guards who died to laser room are missing. Red Dress wanders into the kennels. She gets attacked by a zombie, which unlocks her muscle memory of kick ass! After grabbing a gun, she comes face-to-face with 101 Damnations (well, undead skinned Dobermans). Bullets and kicks end them quickly.

Cop looks through the offices for his sister. She was supposed to smuggle out the T-Virus to pin on Umbrella so they'd get in legal trouble that the company wouldn't come back from. Red Dress remembers she sold the sister company info. There's a bit where Cop guesses that his sister didn't get out in time because she trusted the wrong person. But we know the one to take the Virus wasn't her. I think it was a guy (no face though), and I want to say it was Husband. But we're still in the dark.

After realizing they're stuck in the Hive, Red Dress plugs Red Queen back in with the hope of information. Red Queen tells them the basics on zombies (not Resident Evil zombies), and that she went murder-happy because the virus went airborne in the Hive. They take the service tunnels, where more zombies attack! One drags Hacker into a pit full of zombie, but he manages to slip away, separate from the others. Rain is getting worse, now unable to see or stand on her own.

Red Dress remembers the Virus had a cure and where it was kept. She tells Cop that she was the contact, but her memory loss prevents her from remembering the truth. Husband remembers he heard of the plan and took the Virus and cure before anyone else could. I need someone to pick up that phone, because I CALLED IT!

Husband (Spence) decided to take the getting before it was got! Now he's acting like a Bond villain, monologuing while holding a gun. (He's almost acting like RE1 Wesker. Not as charismatic or dramatic.) A water zombie distracts him, but not enough for anything to happen. Spence gets out and heads to where he hid the cure, but a Licker gets him in the end! For 2002, it looks amazing! And horrifying as it mutates! (Granted, the effects aren't as good NOW, but...)

Red Queen forces them to choose between getting out of the lab, or sacrificing Rain. What's worse, the Licker's trying to break in! Red Dress refuses to kill. Hacker comes in and fries Queen with his remote, freeing them and shutting up Queen in the process! YAY! They get to the train, and the Cure (where Spence hid it). Spence reanimates and crawls to Red Dress. She axes him about divorce and leaves with the train. The Cure is given to Rain and Hacker. Everything seems a-ok!

EXCEPT THE LICKER IS FUCKING BACK!!! The Licker starts tearing up the steel train, killing Hacker! During the Licker fight, Rain turns zombie. Cop is forced to kill her. Licker gets dropped onto the electric rail, where it burns to death. We mourn our dead as the blast doors close behind. As Cop starts to reassure that Red Dress did all she could and it's not her fault, he starts mutating. Scientists come in and take him away to the Nemesis Program (!!!) and put Red Dress under Quarantine. (Holy shit, HE'S NEMESIS? I wonder how they handle it!!)

Red Dress wakes up in a sterile white room. She screams in pain from all the IVs in her. She then rips them all out. It looks as painful as it should be. She shorts out the door and leaves a way-too-quiet and empty hospital. Red Dress walks out to see the streets destroyed and cluttered. No one is around. Headlines talk of Walking Dead. She grabs a shotgun and pumps it for the camera as it backs away to show the whole of Raccoon City is destroyed. And she's fighting back.

The End?

As an adaption to the games, this movie falls under Silent Hill, where it's more of an AU rather than a retelling. Elements are similar enough to warrant the title. As a movie all on it's own, it's a fun little popcorn-throwing zombie movie! It wasn't the best, but it's FAR from the worst! I think this movie is worth a nice rewatch, even if for the cheesy action and predictable horror. 7/10, extra butter on my brains next time, please!

ANA: Kissmate has never seen ANY of the Resident Evil movies (and he's a BIG fan of the games) whereas I've seen all of them and LOVE them all (except the final one but we'll get there) and I know the games have zombies in them and that's IT. We're going to try a dueling-watch thing where we BOTH live-tweet it. We'll see how that goes, lol. Also, these are ART, he doesn't know what he's saying. We're not going to do all six tonight; the tentative plan is one-a-night for a week. But we also have ADHD and might become distracted by a shiny.

The first movie, which doesn't have a subtitle so I'm going to call it Original Crispy starts with how Umbrella Corporation is an ultra-giant company with products in your own home and it's EVIL. Good, good, I am pro-trustbusting. The opening with the green and blue vials of virus swirl tubes is SO PRETTY and honestly really effective when one of them is flung and cracked. (Kissmate: "Is this how covid started? I'm not okay!")

God, the opening sequence with the computer killing everyone is so very horrifying because it's not a zombie movie yet, it's a Killer Computer movie and that's so much scarier for some reason. Kissmate is too absorbed to live-tweet this part and has admitted this is "kinda tense" so I'm bouncing happily in my seat.

I love the bit with the halon gas because it's my understanding that's an actual fire-control system that exists, but it's now being weaponized against the humans. So you have a computer that wasn't given direct tools to kill everyone but made do with what she had. Like, god bless the Red Queen for her ingenuity. Life gave her sprinklers and fire-control systems and she made Murder Lemonade.

They were really smart to film this opening sequence with a lot of implied brutality and gore but very little *actual* gore. It means this 2002 movie holds up much better than it would if they'd used CGI and tons of bad makeup.

I love the slow tension build with Alice wandering around the mansion, trying to remember who the hell she is and why she has guns in a fancy dresser drawer. I do love the storming in of the security team and the disorientation we have that matches Alice's own, but I will admit that the cannon fodder all look very similar. This movie isn't friendly to face-blind people like us.

God, the dead body in the water was the first "realistic" dead body jump-scare I'd ever seen when this movie came out. I was so scared! You have to remember I hadn't been allowed to watch movies growing up.

If you're ever wondering what it's like to watch movies with me, Alice is looking in a closed iron containment cell and Kissmate mused "Now what's this?" and I yelled "oh NO it's Sephiroth's mother!" (It looks like the Jenova cutscene, even Kissmate agreed!)

I love how the Nerd Guy is the last one standing and terrified to go on but does so anyway. So much of this series is about doing The Right Thing even when you're scared. I will forever love how deeply incurious the one female guard is when they encounter zombies for the first time. Dude is like "I shot her 5 times! How was she still standing??" and she's all "Bitch isn't standing now" like THAT SETTLES IT.

After the massive gun fight with the one million zombies, Kissmate is like: "...I don't smoke, but I feel like I need a cigarette after that." Haha. The doberman sequence is so good because you're like RUN RUN RUN and Alice gets away and you're so relieved and then whooooops you have earned yourself one zombie guard and an entire pack of zombie dogs.

I love how Alice's amnesia is actually a useful plot device here, such that we don't know whether she was the villain or not. She remembers promising the virus "for a price" to the activist woman, but not what happens next. And the scene where Alice gets her memory back is always so poignant and painful. Farewell, Fake Husband! I have had to warn Kissmate not to get too attached to any of the remaining characters.

Ahh, I love that movie so much. The second one is my favorite, by far.


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