There is conscious effort within this series to ensure that every film ‘feels’ different. From a sci-fi action adventure, to a more traditional horror movie, this third film takes on the sensibility of a post-apocalyptic terror. The film drips with an antipodean sentiment; it is heavily in the Mad Max (1979 – George Miller) tradition. The series really starts to deal with the consequences of the world they’ve built. Society has broken down, and human beings function on a survival instinct that modernity had long suppressed. For the first time the series becomes about landscapes; bleak, oppressively hot environments. Environments that make you thirsty even looking at them. This movie is presenting a life of grime and hunger and tenacity. It’s shattering to watch.
Visually, the settings have ensured that the colour scheme of each film is distinct. The stark whites of the first instalment transformed into the deathly black-blues of the sequel. This film is a riot of blown-out yellows, yellows that infrastructure and urbanisation have sought to obliterate. They remain a powerful reminder of an almost reverse scenario of terraforming; no longer as a species do we have the ability to transform the landscape. Now it transforms us. The humans in the picture become sedimentary; their skin is blistered and burnt in the oppressive sun. As a species there is less and less aesthetically distinguishing them from the zombie hoards.
If the zombies represent some of the basest instincts in humanity, then the survival drive narrows the gap even further. Morality is a tenuous concept in a dystopian world. In addition, the series begins to remove Mila Jovovich’s Alice further away from a sense of humanity. Here she is worse than cattle; a cloned experiment birthed solely for the potential to cure an incurable disease. Is she less human than the zombies? For they were at least human once… The ethics of making such a convincing simulacra are shaky, but through her empathy and determination, she reveals herself to be more human, more real, than the nominally human supporting cast. She is the only spark of life left within the brutality of existence.
- This film features one of the most engaging openings to any movies I’ve seen, as Alice wakes up and replays the opening of the first film. However, here she discovers discarded cloned versions of herself, discarded into rotting piles of flesh. Outside these piles, swarm thousands of ravenous zombies, all desperate for the opportunity to feast upon herself. It introduces us to the uncertainty of the film, where there will be no easily identifiable protagonist to guide us through the narrative.
- Easily the most horrifying image of these films are the disgusting blood-stained dogs that feature in every instalment. They are genuinely unsettling.
Resident Evil rankings:
- Resident Evil: Extinction
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse