Zombie movies have been around for decades, and for some people like myself, we just eat them up. Having some weird fascination with the survivalist scenario of the dead rising up to consume the living. Recently I got to taste "Resident Evil", a new movie based on a videogame series inspired by the zombie movies we grew up on.
Originally, the studio behind the "Resident Evil" movie had signed George A. Romero to lead the project. Romero is the god of all zombie movies, having created the most renown flesh-eating flicks, the "Night of the Living Dead" series. Surely the "Resident Evil" game developers must have studied Romero's films for years while they perfected their game.
But when Romero's script was submitted, it was deemed as "too old" and since "Resident Evil" is not your fathers zombie license, the studio rejected it and put Paul Anderson, the director of other videogame gone movies, like "Mortal Kombat" in charge.
And like Anderson's previous game-based films, The "Resident Evil" story seems to have been constructed from looking at the screenshots on the back of the game box. You know, give the kids something to recognize. Look there's the scary dogs, and there's Milla Jovovich in a mini-skirt, and it all ends on that cool train ride while tongue-lashing monsters come at our heroes from all sides.
As one friend put it, "Resident Evil" is suck-tacular, it's the most boring action movie you'll ever see. Tension suspended by ridiculous predictability. Every zombie movie cliché you can imagine is used. And unlike the spunky Return of the Living Dead movies from the eighties, which brought new life and ideas into the living dead fantasy, "Resident Evil" strings together stolen dialog and scenes into a lifeless computer effects laden lump.
"Resident Evil" doesn't even pass as a juicy gore-fest. The movie cheats audiences and censors itself before showing any truly gruesome pay-off scenes. The clips most likely withheld so it can play in the malls and multiplexes today and be sold to collecting fools as an uncut DVD later.
If you need your fix of flesh eating ghouls, I'd suggest you spend your zombie buying bucks on the real thing. Go and rent a classic Romero flick, or listen to the new "Dameonia" CD. Claudio Simonetti's tribute to Goblin, the band that did the music for "Dawn of the Dead".
For the price of a bargain matinee screening, you can log onto eBay and get yourself a copy of the original "Resident Evil" Playstation game and have the scariest fun in interactive entertainment. Do what you have to satisfy your zombie cravings, but let this "Resident Evil" movie rot on the vine.
For Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2002 - Purple - Air Date: 3/17/02
UK - 2002