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Feature: Inside Resident Evil
Chamber of Horrors
Beware of the Dogs. And the zombies. And beware especially of a homicidal computer known as the Red Queen. Prepare to enter the world of Resident Evil …
It is fair to say Resident Evil has not enjoyed a trouble-free passage from multi-million selling PC game to big screen Horror blockbuster. When we featured it on the cover of Shivers #90, bearing the subtitle Ground Zero, no one could have forseen the terrifying events that would come to be associated with that title. But world events aside, there have been other concerns to dog the progress of the film that fans wanted to be the best zombie flick in the world ever.
The final choice for director was Britain's Paul Anderson, widely regarded as a good candidate for this sort of thing after bringing the likes of Mortal Kombat and Event Horizon to the screen. The full Apocalyptic horror of Event Horizon never quite made it to the screen, and we were left with tantalizing glimpses of a Hellish inferno there was hope that Resident Evil would be more full-on. Production started on March 5th, 2001 with locations including London and Berlin and a budget of $40 million. Filming wrapped late in May when work began on the complex digital effects. The Shivers interview with Anderson (the first about the film to be printed anywhere,) was completed on the set and published just weeks after principal filming was complete.
However, gamers were alarmed that it didn't sound much like their beloved zombie-massacring game. Anderson reassured them that everything they expected would be there, from the frenzied skinless zombie dogs to a genetically mutated creature called the Licker an undead monster with a massive tongue. His embellishments, he stated, chiefly the references to Alice Through The Looking Glass in the supercomputer called Red Queen, had all been alluded to in the game, albeit obliquely.
Sony initially favoured a later release in 2002, although the film was shunted forwards and backwards around Easter, eventually settling on sooner rather than later' in the US to avoid the wealth of Fantasy blockbusters coming in the Summer, including Sam Raimi's hugely anticipated Spider-Man and the next instalment of the Star Wars saga, Attack of the Clones. (In the UK, its release has been altered to July 12).
The question everybody wants answered of course is it any good? Certainly Anderson has created a fabulous-looking film, populated largely by very pretty people (and very ugly zombies...) The amount of texture in the film, from the clinical, steely interiors of The Hive to the darkened labyrinth of corridors infested by the undead, will impress. If there's a problem, it is perhaps in the fact that you can't make a decent film out of a computer game. There have been so many attempts and all seem doomed to failure...
by James Abery
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