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Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up with severe amnesia as a crack commando squad invade the mansion where she finds herself. Their mission is to isolate a deadly virus that's been unleashed in the Umbrella Corporation's high-tech, top-secret research facility deep beneath the mansion. It's controlled by the Red Queen, a malfunctioning supercomputer that's turning the facility's defenses against the squad, including Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Matt (Eric Mabius), Spencer (James Purefoy) and Chad (Martin Crewes). Alice has three hours to stop the virus - which is making everyone mutate into flesh eating zombies - from spreading to the surface.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
What a wonderful surprise! I knew nothing about Resident Evil other than that it was based on the massively popular computer game that I've never played. Was this to be another nerdy Nintendo game on the big screen (RIP Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy)? Well, some might think so, but there's something to this tense, inventive, fast paced and unashamedly schlocky B-movie that really works. Resident Evil is directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and it's obvious he's a big fan of the game. Not only is it a faithful adaptation, but Anderson adds some of the juiciest science fiction and horror movie influences.

First, it's set in a claustrophobic secret underground laboratory where a deadly virus is released. Sounds like The Andromeda Strain. Second, the super-computer controlling the lab goes haywire, locks everyone in and turns homicidal. Sounds like it's a distant cousin to the naughty HAL-9000, in 2001 - A Space Odyssey. Third, the scientists killed by the virus are re-animated into flesh-eating zombies which - despite sounding terrible - had me smiling back to Night of the Living Dead. There's also a touch of Aliens in there, as an elite military unit is sent in and systematically sliced and diced (literally). And Milla Jovovich makes a pretty good Ellen Ripley. So you can hardly call Resident Evil original. But the influences come so thick, so fast, and so razor-sharp that it's enough to make any film buff drool like the undead zombies which start stalking our heroes. Just don't take it too seriously.

While not top heavy with features, the DVD comes with numerous cool extras. Importantly for a sci-fi horror like this, it has DTS sound those salivating zombies will scare you from all corners of the room - and the image quality is crystal clear.

There are five mid-length featurettes, the longest of which (25 minutes) is a general Making-Of Documentary with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. The second is Scoring, which might not seem interesting at first, but the interview with Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson is cool, especially the way Manson discusses his love of high-range frequencies. Freaky.

The third is Costumes, and you might be grossed out to see how the designers based the zombies' design after visits to morgues. Yuk! The fourth is Zombie Make-up Tests, which is fun but no big deal. The film comes with commentary by Anderson, Jovovich, Rodriguez, and producer Jeremy Bolt, and it sometimes gets jumbled with so many voices.

Rounding out the features are a Slipknot music video and biographies. Resident Evil may not be everyone's cup of tea on DVD, but this is my kind of stuff. Not as slick and polished as Aliens or as cerebral as Blade Runner, it's a gruesome B-grade horror along the lines of Event Horizon and Hellraiser: Bloodline. Check out the way Jovovich deals with that pack of mutant Dobermans. Way cool. Even makes me want to go out and buy the video game. Now that's a first!

Published December 26, 2002

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CAST: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Martin Crewes, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Colin Salmon

DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen, Closed Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS. Dual layer single sided disc; Language: English, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian

SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast and filmmakers commentary by director Paul W.S.Anderson, producer Jeremy Bold, Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez ; Featurettes: The Making of Resident Evil Featurette; Scoring Resident Evil; Featurette; Costumes Featurette; Set Design Featurette; Zombie Makeup Tests Featurette; "My Plaque" by Slipknot Music Video ; Biographies


DVD RELEASE: December 11, 2002

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