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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Horror, Day 7: Resident Evil

If you've been keeping up with my recent posts, you'll know that the last few films I've watched have been less than stellar. To break the cycle, I decided to watch something I've seen before: Resident Evil (2002). In doing so, I learned a very important life lesson: stop watching Paul W.S. Anderson movies.

Resident Evil

What I enjoy about the entire Resident Evil series is that the zombies are created in the most realistic way possible: through a virus. Try not to think about it too much since the CDC is currently closed due to the government shutdown. They probably couldn't do too much about an outbreak anyway, but that's a story for Resident Evil 2.

While Anderson can make an okay action movie, he falters at the nuance of horror. There's no slow build, no unveiling of increasingly bad things, no tension. Instead, it's all action all the time. Without moments of rest, we just become accustomed to the same level of intensity -- we never go up or down except in the size of the monsters. This somehow makes an action-oriented movie about zombies boring. Perhaps Anderson took the video game's tenacity a little too far when writing the script.

Resident Evil zombie dog

Where the film does shine is in its graphics. Like his other film, Event Horizon, Anderson meticulously constructs his scenery. The world of Raccoon City and the Hive truly feel like the cold, clinical, corporately owned arms of the Umbrella Corporation. Anderson also captures the best Resident Evil monsters -- zombie dogs and the Licker in particular -- with fantastic accuracy. He doesn't push their appearances far from what they are in the video games; in this case, he did well to let zombie dogs lie.

In the end, Resident Evil is a movie of a lot of slick style but very little substance. It's much more terrifying and rewarding to just play the video game. I'll definitely be avoiding Anderson movies for the remainder of the month. Since I've been burned by so many modern movies, I'm going to go old school tomorrow. There's something to be said for the classics.

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