Resident Evil is a 2002 horror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. The film stars Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez and Colin Salmon. It is the first installment in the Resident Evil film series, which is based on the Capcom survival horror video game series Resident Evil.

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. The film received mixed reviews from critics but grossed more than $102 million worldwide.


Outside Raccoon City exists a genetic research facility called the Hive, owned by the Umbrella Corporation. A man stole the genetically engineered T-virus and contaminated the Hive with it. In response, the facility's artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, sealed the Hive, killing everyone inside.

Alice, the head of security at the Hive and the secret entrance, fell unconscious from the nerve gas and suffered from memory loss including all of her memories of Umbrella. Shortly after, an environmentalist, Matt Addison, got into the mansion about the same time Umbrella's biohazard team broke in. They were One, Rain, Kaplan, J.D., Drew, Warner and Olga. They quickly apprehended the two and moved to the underground train leading to the Hive. After restoring the train's power and moving toward the Hive, J.D. opens the door to the next car where Spence Parks collapsed and is introduced. He suffered from the same nerve gas Alice was introduced to.

The group quickly made it to an experimental storage room where Matt, J.D., and Rain stayed. The rest of the group advanced to the Queen's chamber. Kaplan shut down the security systems so they can proceed.

One, Olga, Drew, and Warner proceeded through the hallway, where they were sealed by the Red queens security system. A laser moved towards them and ripped Drew's fingers off, and ended Olga's life as well, by decapitation. As the Laser passed by a second time, Warner tried to dodge it promptly by jumping, the laser promptly killed him as well by slicing him through the torso. Finally as the final laser came through, One died as the laser turned into an impossible to dodge grid. Kaplan tried to deactivate it, but didn't succeed until after everyone was dead. Shortly thereafter Kaplan and Alice proceeded to shut down Red Queen. Because of the shut down, all electronic units, including the doors and seals trapping the infected people inside were opened.

As this happened, Rain and J.D. came across a zombie. Not knowing it was actually a zombie, it bit Rain's hand, infecting her. Rain and J.D. are quickly rattled by its persistence to move even after several rounds of bullets were fired at it. Alice, Kaplan, and Spence returned to Rain and the others afterwards. During this time they are surrounded by zombies and the group used most of its ammunition. J.D. is separated from Rain and was devoured by a horde of the infected zombies.

Rain, Kaplan, and Spence returned and barricaded themselves in the Queen's chamber. Matt entered the offices searching for his sister Lisa only to find that she has been infected. Alice saved Matt and killed Lisa. It is then that Matt explained why he was there. His sister, Lisa, had infiltrated the Hive and had a contact there to steal the t-Virus and expose Umbrella to the world. Lisa was supposed to use this contact to get the virus and exit the Hive and give the virus to Matt so he could expose Umbrella.

Alice and Matt returned to the Queen's chamber. After being boxed in with no escape, Alice reactivated the Red Queen and kept her on remote activation for insurance. In doing so, they were able to blackmail the Queen for info on the virus and a way to escape.

They exit through storage tunnels where they were attacked again. Rain was then infected for the third and fourth time since the first undead encountered. Kaplan was separated from the group some time later. Alice, Matt, Spence, and Rain reached the surface afterward. Rain by this time has been infected on a massive level and all of her senses were impaired including lack of strength to walk. About that time, Alice remembered about the Anti-Virus, the cure to the t-Virus. They entered the experimental room to recover it only to find it missing. Spence then regained his memories and it is revealed that he was the one who let the virus go free. He would then use the remaining capsules on the black market and make himself a rich man. When Alice refused to go with him he left the room holding everyone at gunpoint and sealed the exit.

As he returned to the train to surface, he was killed by one of the Licker. Red Queen didn't tell them of its escape because she hadn't expected anyone to survive that long without becoming infected. It was her back-up plan. The Licker then found them and tried to break in while the Red Queen agreed to give them access to leave if they kill Rain. Even with the Anti-Virus on the train, the t-Virus had infected her on a massive level and there was no guarantee that the Anti-Virus would work. Kaplan then returned and shut down the Red Queen, opening the door so that they can escape as the Licker entered from the opposite entrance. They made it to the train and traveled to the surface. Rain is given the Anti-Virus, and Kaplan is as well, but the Licker returned and killed Kaplan and infected Matt. The Licker targeted Alice. Alice managed to secure its tongue into the ground with a pipe while Matt went to open the storage hatch it's standing on. Rain, who had been turned into a zombie, attacked Matt. Matt shoot her swiftly as she fell on the hatch mechanism and the Licker was caught on the tracks, being ignited and left behind to burn.

As Alice and Matt reached the surface, they were abducted by Umbrella scientists and Matt was used in the Nemesis program while Alice was used in a separate one. The remaining scientists reopened the sealed Hive to find out what happened. When Alice awakened at the Raccoon City facility several hours later, the infection had spread throughout the city and Alice found and loaded a shotgun.



In 1999, Sony and Capcom greenlit a Resident Evil film with George A. Romero signed on as the film's director and screenplay writer. Romero's association with Capcom, the Resident Evil video game series creators, had extended from 1998 when Romero directed an ad campaign for Resident Evil 2 in Japan. Romero stated in an official appearance in Universal Studio's Talk City chatroom that he had his secretary play the entire game through and record the gameplay so he could study it as a resource. Romero's screenplay revolved around the plot of the Arklay incident and included characters from the Resident Evil video games. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine were the lead characters, involved in a romantic relationship. Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, Ada Wong and Albert Wesker were to also appear. The ending to the film would have been similar to that of the Resident Evil video game. Romero's script was disapproved of and production was placed into development hell. Capcom producer Yoshiki Okamoto explained to the editors of Electronic Gaming Monthly that "Romero's script wasn't good, so Romero was fired". In February 2000, Romero revealed in an interview with DGA magazine that "I don't think they were into the spirit of the video game and wanted to make it more of a war movie, something heavier than I thought it should be. So I think they just never liked my script." As Romero's script was a close, but not full, adaptation of the game, Capcom believed fans would feel that the film had been altered too much from the game and that newcomers would dislike the premise.

Hired by Sony, Paul W. S. Anderson wrote a screenplay, which was ultimately favored over Romero's. In late 2000, Anderson was announced as director and writer, and Resident Evil re-entered pre-production stages. Anderson stated the film would not include any tie-ins with the video game series as "under-performing movie tie-ins are too common and Resident Evil, of all games, deserved a good celluloid representation".


In early 2001, Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy and Milla Jovovich were the first of the cast to be signed on the project. David Boreanaz was intended to portray the male cop lead of Matt Addison; however, he turned down the role to continue work on the WB series Angel. Boreanaz suggested that he was in negotiations to have a smaller role in the film, claiming "Resident Evil is still there, a possibility, So, yeah, I'll see what happens", but he later declined the role. The role of Matt Addison then went to Eric Mabius who was cast in March 2001, along withHeike Makatsch, who was cast as Matt Addison's sister Lisa Addison, an employee working for Umbrella's Hive facility.

Production and story development

In early March 2001, it was announced that half of the film would be shot in Adlershof Studios in Berlin and its surroundings. Principal photography began on March 5, 2001 at numerous locations including the then unfinished station U-Bahnhof Bundestag of the Berlin U-Bahn, Landsberger Allee, Kaserne Krampnitz and the Schloss Linstedt. Locations included The Spencer Mansion and The Hive. The film's ending in Raccoon City was shot in Toronto, Canada. Filming concluded and post-production on the film began on 19 May 2001.

The film's score and soundtrack were composed by Clint Mansell, Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson during mid 2001. Manson described the score and soundtrack as being more "electronic" than any of his other previous work.

The film was originally subtitled as "Resident Evil: Ground Zero" when the movie was considered a prequel to the games, however the subtitle was removed due to the 9/11 attacks. The film's first plot as of March 16, 2001 revealed that Jovovich's Alice and Rodriguez's Rain were the leaders of a commando team sent in to prevent a viral outbreak from spreading to the rest of the world, however those details were later changed.

The film contains various references to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. the obvious being the main character's name; another is the use of a white rabbit for testing the T-Virus. The wall that opens to the train station appears as a mirror (Through the Looking-Glass), the Red Queen and her behavior, wanting to behead/kill people, are references to the book; the Red Queen's first kill is actually a beheading. In addition, the Red Queen's character was added into the film's story as an homage to HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

During production, professional dancers were hired to star as zombies as they had better control of their body movements. While computer effects were used on some zombies, much of the undead appearances were accomplished through make-up while their movements were a more laissez-faire approach, as Anderson told the actors to move however they thought a zombie would, given their conditions. Whilst filming, there was a shortage of manpower where the available dancers were not enough to represent the required numbers of undead, however some of Capcom's executives and several of the film producers including Jeremy Bolt agreed to make appearances. The film's stunt coordinator also made an appearance as the dog trainer while Bolt's girlfriend and sister both appeared as zombies.

Marketing and release

In March 2001, the official website was set up, which revealed the film's original October 26, 2001 release and a redirect to the film's distributor Constantin Films. The website was fully opened in July 2001, and composed of images, plot info, character biographies and downloads. The film was planned to have an R-rated classification, however was overruled by Anderson, claiming he wanted a PG-13 rating as it would best suit a younger audience. In January 2002, the film was officially announced to contain a R rating.

In May 2001, it was announced that Sony Pictures Entertainment would distribute the film in North America. It was suggested by Capcom executives that the film would not be released in 2001, but rather in 2002, which was later confirmed by Sony in August 2001. The film was set for release on 5 April 2002 before being pushed forward to a 15 March release.

In December 2001, Sony gave fans a chance to design the film's poster with a prize of an undisclosed amount of cash, a free screening of the film, and with the final design being the film's poster. On February 16, 2002, Nick Des Barres, a 23-year-old aspiring actor and ex-video game magazine designer, was announced as the winner of the competition. The film's trailer and clips were released in late January and early February 2002.

On June 29, 2004, over two years after the film's release, a novelization by Keith R. A. DeCandido was published. DeCandido also wrote novelizations for the second film, which was published only two months later, and the third film in 2007.

Box office

The film opened in 2,528 theaters and grossed $17,707,106 on its opening weekend (March 15–17, 2002). The film gained $40,119,709 domestically and $102,441,078 worldwide.

After commercial success at the box office, a sequel, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, was released in 2004. This was followed in 2007 by Resident Evil: Extinction, in 2010 by Resident Evil: Afterlifeand in 2012 by Resident Evil: Retribution. Anderson did not direct the second and third films due to filming commitments with Alien vs. Predator and Death Race, but instead functioned as the scriptwriter and producer on both. These films were directed by Alexander Witt and Russell Mulcahy respectively, while Anderson returned to direct the fourth and fifth films in the franchise.

Critical reaction

Resident Evil received a 34% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 121 reviews. Robert K. Elder from the Chicago Tribune stated that 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 that the film is as "impersonal in its relentlessness as the videogame series that inspired it."

Both Resident Evil and the sequel appear on Roger Ebert's most hated films list, published in 2005. In the review of Resident Evil, Ebert describes the film as a zombie movie set in the 21st century where "large metallic objects make crashing noises just by being looked at." He also explains that the film's "characters have no small talk. Their dialogue consists of commands, explanations, and exclamations."


Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome
29th Saturn Awards Best Horror Film Nominated
Best Actress Milla Jovovich Nominated
German Camera Award Best Editing-Feature Film Alexander Berner Nominated
2004 Golden Trailer Awards Most Original Ignition Creative Nominated

Home media

Resident Evil was released on VHS and DVD on July 30, 2002 in the United States, April 14, 2003 in the United Kingdom and October 2002 in Australia. It was a special edition release, with a number of documentaries including five featurettes, one of which explained the making of Resident Evil, the film's score composition, costume design, set design, zombie make up tests, and the music video for a remixed version of "My Plague" by Slipknot.

A Deluxe Edition of Resident Evil was released on September 7, 2004, which included new special features such as an alternate ending with director Anderson's video introduction, a clip compilation for Apocalypse, From Game to Screen featurette, a Storyboarding Resident Evil featurette, and 6 other exclusive featurettes: The Creature, The Elevator, The Train, The Laser, Zombie Dogs and Zombies.

Screen Gems released Resident Evil: Resurrected Edition, a 2-disc package containing Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, on September 4, 2007.

On January 1, 2008, a Blu-ray of the Resident Evil trilogy was released.

External links