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Film / Resident Evil (2002)

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Hmmm, that resident evil is a looker.


Resident Evil is the first film adaptation of the Resident Evil franchise, and the start of the Resident Evil Film Series.

A young woman named Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakens to find herself in an empty mansion with little-to-no memory of her past. After soldiers burst through the doors, they take her with them into the Hive, an underground bioresearch facility situated beneath the mansion. Alice, the strike team, and two tagalongs found in the Hive discover an unspeakable secret within the facility that the Umbrella Corporation wants hidden away for good: The company has developed a bioweapon far beyond anything the world has ever known. As Umbrella's response unit hunts for the cause of the devastation within the lab, the result of that devastation soon becomes clear: The dead have come back to life, and they hunger for fresh flesh!


Resident Evil contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Mostly subverted. The team is told that the Red Queen has gone homicidal for no reason, but it is the Queen's job to contain possible outbreaks, which she did perfectly. True, she killed a couple hundred people without even explaining why they had to die, but that was required to keep the outbreak from escaping the Hive. And it's nothing to the destruction that follows in the sequels as a direct result of Umbrella breaking her quarantine. However, as soon as it's revealed she can speak wherever she wants and decides to only do so at the very last moment before they pull the plug on her, and that the only thing she can say is "Please, don't turn me off. Get out!", it's somewhat played straight.
  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening: Alice does this at the end of the movie.
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  • Action Girl: Alice is the standout example, but there's also Rain.
  • Adaptational Badass: The zombies. In the games, a headshot wasn't necessarily required to bring down a zombie. Enough bullets (or even knife slashes) to the main body was enough to kill one. Here, it is established that only massive trauma to the brain or severing the top of the spinal column will do the job.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: At one point, the surviving team members go through air vents to evade the zombies.
  • Alice Allusion: Alice, the Red Queen, and in later movies, the White Queen:
    • The Hive is located behind two mirrored doors (Through the Looking Glass).
    • Kaplan constantly worries about time (as the White Rabbit does).
    • A white rabbit is used to test the T-Virus.
    • The Red Queen orders Alice to kill Rain by chopping off her head, and she actually chops off the Medic's head.
    • When the first zombie is seen, Matt is sitting on a high ledge (supposed to be a reference to the caterpillar).
  • All for Nothing: The survivors are offered an opportunity by the Red Queen to leave the Hive alive; all they have to do is execute Rain, who's already infected. The survivors refuse, knowing that there's a potential cure somewhere, and as a result spend way more time in the Hive than they otherwise would have had to, with more than a few extra casualties along the way. Rain turns into a zombie anyway as they inject her with the cure too late, so it was all for naught. The final survivor count would have been higher if they had just taken the Red Queen's offer.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end of the movie, Alice wakes up again alone and confused, apparently facing a T-Virus outbreak, just like at the start.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: In the Hive, one room has a window which displays the sights and sounds of a big city:
    Matt: Makes it easier to work underground, thinking there's a view.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The Red Queen infamously says that the human body remains active after death - a common myth is that hair and fingernails continue to grow. You'd expect a supercomputer to know such a thingnote .
    • Matt says blood only coagulates after you're dead, indicating who attacked them was a zombie. Blood does indeed coagulate in living beings. In fact according to most articles, blood does coagulate in dead and living organisms, which means Matt is mostly 100% correct. But there is a mistake. Blood doesn't just coagulate after you're dead. Blood can also coagulate when you're alive due to blood clotting from specific conditions, diseases, and viruses as well as untreated injuries such as untreated cuts and bruises. Still, Matt was 100% correct.
    • The medic and the second Commando should have fallen to the floor instantly when the laser went through them; severing the spinal column would not keep them standing.
    • Probably the most absurd example is the fact that not one protagonist actually aims for the heads of zombies. Most militaries, including special forces units, are trained to automatically aim for center mass, or basically anything that would result in almost instantaneous death. This includes the Brain and the Heart (though admittedly, the chest is a better target, as even if you miss the heart itself, you usually have hit something else critical like the lungs, and most soldiers tend to favor the chest for this reason).
    • Despite the T-Virus being called a protean virus and mentioned as being capable of switching to airborne transmission, the characters never express concern that merely breathing the air could get them infected. The initial infection spread when a canister of the virus was shattered and the virus entered the Hive's air system, but once Alice and the strike team meet the zombies head-on, the virus has evaporated and bites seem to be the only way for anyone to actually become infected. The novelizations say the T-Virus has an airborne variant with a hot zone, and this is the initial deployment method, but the virus soon reverts to the non-airborne variant (with all the people-eating that entails). The film hints at this when the Red Queen notes that the transmission method depends on environment, but doesn't say it outright.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: The lab the virus was released into allowed it to escape through air ducts. Any room that requires people to wear safety suits - and the scientists say it's sealed - would have air vents.
  • Ate His Gun: Kaplan almost does this. Instead, he just shoots a zombie.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Alice makes it through the entire ordeal without getting cut up or bruised. When she emerges from The Hive, she's merely wet. Illustrating how much this is in effect, Milla Jovovich talked about being covered in lesions and bruises after shooting the brief moment where Alice is dragged across the grille in the train.
    • Rain looks very good for someone who has been bitten by multiple zombies and only merely looks like she's got a bad hangover.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The primary antagonist is the Red Queen, who has sealed the hive and is terminating the Umbrella employees to contain the zombie infection - though considering what she's trying to prevent, it's kind of justified. The other antagonist is Spence Parks, who spends most of the film as an amnesiac and was the one who purposely caused the virus outbreak as a distraction for him to escape the Hive with the sample of T-Virus, which he would later sell on the Black Market.
  • Big Red Button: Opens and closes the subway car's floor door.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite all their effort to escape the Hive, Matt is infected and he and Alice are taken by Umbrella to experiment on. Also, Raccoon City ends up somehow deserted and in ruins meanwhile. The only good side is that Alice is apparently alive and well at it.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Subverted in the laser hallway as One is the last to die.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When the commandos are sliced to pieces by the Laser Hallway. Justified in that the lasers cut by burning, so the wounds are being cauterized even as they're inflicted.
  • Blown Across the Room: Rain's machine gun fire sends a zombie flying about 20 feet.
  • Book Ends: The movie starts with Alice waking up nude, alone and confused and ends up that exact way.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Most zombies, since it's their weakpoint. Also happen to J.D. and Rain.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Bullets run out only when the film demands it. Otherwise even the revolvers can shoot non-stop with no need to reload whatsoever.
  • Braids of Action: Rain, as the Vasquez of this film, has her hair sensibly tied back in a braid. Of course this is military protocol but the fact that she has it in a braid as opposed to the medic's bun shows that she'll be a badass.
  • Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: Spence spends most of the film wearing a tight T-shirt that doesn't get torn and he doesn't even get a scratch on his exposed arms. In contrast, Matt and Kaplan get plenty messed up.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Red Queen and Alice.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Alice seems determined to save everyone, despite the fact that she's just met them. Especially Rain and Matt. She takes Rain's death especially hard. This could be justified by the fact that she had always intended to betray Umbrella and help Lisa escape with the T-Virus.
  • Combat Parkour: Alice takes this to ridiculous extremes, as she sends full-grown adults (and zombies) flying with moves straight out of The Matrix.
  • Company Town: Raccoon City was under the thumb of Umbrella.
  • Creator Cameo: Producer Jeremy Bolt has a cameo as one of the zombies.
  • Creepy Child: The Red Queen is a great example. Although she is just literally a gender-less AI who only uses the avatar of a young girl, that doesn't make her any less creepy, especially as she speaks with her emotionless and monotone voice, and referring to herself as a "bad, bad girl" when she revealed that she secretly released the Licker to kill Spence, and likely, everyone else, to further prevent the release of the T-virus.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The laser room deaths. One ends up diced into itty bitty pieces by the Red Queen's lasers.
  • Cutting the Knot: One manages to evade one of the Laser Hallway beams by leaping up and grabbing the ceiling. When the next beam passes by, he prepares to either jump or duck, depending on its position. Then the beam changes into an entire laser grid which is impossible for him to avoid.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spence Parks, during the following exchange:
    Rain: (covered in gore and bites) When I get out of here, I think I'm gonna get laid!
    Spence: (beat) You may want to clean up first.
  • Delayed Causality: The medic and One are killed this way in the Laser Hallway. They stay perfectly standing until their injuries start to show; the medic has her neck sliced open while One is cut into tiny cubes.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Subverted. At one point, J.D. is pulled into an elevator and attacked by a group of zombies. However, when he turns up later on as a zombie, he is almost completely whole, so the zombies just infected him with the T-virus and didn't eat him.
  • Diagonal Cut: In the laser hallway, after the first pass of the laser beam, the commando's head slides off. The last commando in the hallway is cut by a grid of lasers and slides into pieces.
  • Disposable Pilot: Kaplan becomes this as soon as he gets behind the controls of the train for the ride out.
  • Dueling Hackers: Kaplan has a hacking duel with the Red Queen to bypass her defenses.
  • Dull Surprise: While not entirely dull, Rain reacts to a zombie (believing it to be an ordinary person at first) biting her hand with mere annoyance. She seems to think the woman just went crazy.
  • Dwindling Party: The first film deals with a group investigating and then trying to escape The Hive. Not only is the facility armed with several deathtraps, but it is also infested with zombies and other mutations that attack anything living. This was guaranteed to happen.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The opening narration isn't done by Alice, and even has an opening crawl of sorts. The second movie justifies this by having Alice find the camcorder she supposedly recorded all the movies' narration on.
  • Easy Amnesia: Both Alice and Spence become amnesic shorty after the T-Virus outbreak in the Hive.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: When Spence is holding the other survivors at gunpoint, a zombie rises up out of the water behind him and bites him on the neck.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The dogs being kept at an office seem to notice the incoming airborne viral outbreak as they bark aloud while looking at the air vents.
  • Evil Elevator: In the opening sequence, when the Hive's employees get wiped out.
  • Evil, Inc.: Umbrella, who is performing illegal research and creating viral weaponry.
  • Expositron 9000: The Red Queen.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: The Red Queen's sole purpose is to keep the virus contained, and she won't help the strike team if it means the virus has any chance of escaping. All things considered, that's her job and she's got a point.
  • Fan Disservice: Alice shows the most skin when she wakes up at the end of the movie on an operating table, and full of IV needles.
  • Fast-Roping: The soldiers engage in this when they enter the mansion. Why they went on the roof first, or why they simply didn't just go in through the open front door is never explained, but it's probably Rule of Cool.
  • Final Girl: Alice is the only one able to escape the Hive without getting killed or infected. She does get "infected" after she escapes, though. By horror movie standards, she subverts the 'most wholesome' aspects (she has flashbacks to having sex with Spence, appears nude and provides Fanservice by way of her sexy red dress) and she's also the rare blonde Final Girl.
  • Fingore: One of the Commandos has his fingers sliced off in the laser hallway and apparently dies out of shock. Rain later has several of her fingers bitten off by zombies.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As the group make their way into the Hive, they find several rooms that were sealed and flooded, with a woman's floating corpse inside. After they depart, the corpse's eyes open.
    • At the same time, Matt hears the sound of mass moaning coming from one of the vents.
    • The Red Queen warns that too long after infection, there's no guarantee the Anti-Virus will work. Sadly she's proved right with Rain.
  • From Bad to Worse: The team shut down the Red Queen, only to release what she was trying to keep locked up.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • One is literally diced by a grid of beams, but we only see the blurry image of his reflection as he's falling to bits.
    • Kaplan is seen putting a gun in his mouth; the film then cuts to a reaction shot of Alice hearing the shot being fired. Subverted when it turns out Kaplan just shot a zombie and is looking for another way out.
    • During the initial purge of everyone in the Hive, the camera cuts away at the last second before a woman is decapitated by an elevator.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Commando 2 attempts to jump the second laser and is cut in half when the laser goes up.
  • Hand Signals: Rain and the team leader.
  • Hand Sliding Down the Glass: Inverted where a hand slamming against the glass is proof that something very bad is about to happen, as the dead scientists in the sealed room aren't so dead, after all. Played straight in the scene where multiple people are trapped in a room filling with gas. Practically all of them are beating against the glass and then having their hands slide down as the slowly succumb.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: J.D. ends up performing one unintentionally when he pushes Kaplan away from a locked door so that he can unlock it himself (which unfortunately turns out to have a horde of zombies behind it).
  • Hologram: The Red Queen's projected image.
  • Hope Spot: After Rain is bitten and our remaining heroes are briefly trapped, Kaplan pulls a Big Damn Heroes, the Mega-Licker finishes off Spence for them, and they manage to get the antivirus he left behind, leave the Hive on the train, and inject Rain. Then the Mega-Licker catches up to the train... oh, and the antivirus doesn't work, mainly because Rain was not only bitten so many times, but was also infected for a length of time that would render the anti-virus ineffective.
  • Identity Amnesia: Alice and Spence have no idea who they are.
  • Idiot Ball:
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being a hardass Umbrella commando, Rain ultimately proves to be quite reasonable.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Red Queen orders Alice to kill the infected Rain in exchange for opening a locked door, and while there is an Anti-Virus, it's not guaranteed to work. Rain is visibly sick from her wounds and could turn into a zombie at any rate, and considering what happens later, you can't really blame the Red Queen for doing this.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the Licker meets its end, though admittedly all Alice was hoping to do was crush it under the train. The fire was just an added bonus. Also, if flamethrowers and incendiary grenades were used at the very beginning instead of traditional weaponry, then half of the protagonists that ended up dead from zombie attacks would have never died in the first place.
  • Knuckle Cracking: After she succumbs to the T-virus infection and turns into a zombie, Rain does the neck cracking variant just before she attacks.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Spence becomes amnesic shorty after causing the T-virus outbreak in the Hive.
  • Laser Hallway: The Red Queen's main defense. It takes down several of Umbrella's elite investigation squad before being shut down.
  • Leg Focus: Alice's minidress allows her to show off her legs. Even when wearing Spence's jacket, she's still showing some leg.
  • Male Gaze: There are many shots of Alice's legs throughout the film. The camera is kept down as low as possible to view them.
  • Mega-Corp: The Umbrella Corporation has its fingers in a lot of proverbial pies, selling everything from cosmetics to industrial machines to biological weapons.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Two of the commandos' deaths in the Laser Hallway.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alice. She has a shower scene and there's a moment where she's briefly nude.
  • Murderous Thighs: Alice does a Neck Snap of a zombie this way.
  • Mythology Gag: While fleeing from the zombies, the group double back through the Laser Hallway. To their confusion, the bodies of the operatives killed there are gone. In the games, the bodies of dispatched zombies would often disappear after the player left the room.
  • Necessarily Evil: The Red Queen qualifies big time. Yes, she did murder the entire Umbrella research facility staff, but she was only following her main directive to prevent a T-virus outbreak. Her actions are probably the most sensible out of anyone in the entire series when it comes to containing a T-virus outbreak. Her actions are brutal, but effective at least until Umbrella unseals the facility and lets all the zombies loose.
  • Neck Snap:
    • Rain breaks a zombie's neck by twisting it.
    • Alice snaps zombie necks three times, once with Murderous Thighs and twice by kicking them in the head.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Averted when Kaplan tells the rest of the party to keep going after he's cut off from them by zombies. Then he makes it out alive and comes back to save everyone. Then he dies at the last minute anyway.
  • Not a Zombie: When the group first encounters the zombies, they assume they're just a bunch of injured survivors gone crazy.
  • Not So Stoic: Badass Action Girl Rain is openly crying in the background in the scene where Kaplan is separated from the group and they're forced to leave him behind.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the workers of the Hive is decapitated by the elevator in the intro of the movie. The Medic is decapitated by the first laser beam.
  • Oh, Crap!: The last word of One, right before he gets sliced into chunks by the Laser Hallway trap:
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • James Purefoy slips out of his American accent occasionally when pronouncing a word with an r in the middle.
    • Colin Salmon does likewise when he says "now let's move it".
    • Martin Crewes's holds up really well but does slip on the odd word.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: These zombies exist because of science — specifically, a virus. A cure exists, but doesn't have much reliability even when administered soon after infection. The T-Virus zombies move slow, and any head trauma (not just a shot to the head) will kill them; Alice kills two zombie dogs by kicking one in the head and smashing the other's head with a paperweight, while Rain kills a zombie by snapping her neck.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Red Queen had very good reason to initiate a lockdown and keeping the doors shut. Yet the team did not bother to ask why she had done this, and she didn't bother to give clear explanation either until explicitly asked, but by then it was way too late.
  • Pull the I.V.: Alice does this in the hospital scene that comes at the end of this and near the start of Apocalypse.
  • Returning the Wedding Ring: Spence and Alice were pretending to be a married couple. Near the end of the movie, Spence betrays Alice and is turned into a zombie. After she kills him, she drops her wedding ring next to his body.
  • Rule of Cool: The whole series invokes this rule by the boatload, but special notice for this film goes to the laser hallway. The Red Queen could've just killed everyone right away by using the "laser grid" on the first pass. Watching the grid adapt to the victims' attempts to avoid it and take them down one by one makes for a much more awesome scene, though.
  • Sequel Hook: Alice walks out of the hospital to find that she's in a deserted (except for zombies) Raccoon City.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Spence shoots out the lock on the lab door offcamera.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: The first zombie limps in dragging an axe across the floor.
  • Slow Electricity: When the Red Queen (and the power) are shut down and restarted.
  • Spicy Latina: Rain downplays this, as her aggression is more 'understandable frustration at being locked underground with zombies' and she shows a softer side. But she plays it straight in being the most prominent Action Girl, confrontational with the other characters and being just attractive enough despite her tomboyish appearance.
  • Stab the Salad: The Red Queen computer demands that the remaining protagonists chop off Rain Ocampo's head (because she's infected with the T-Virus) before she'll let the rest of them go. Alice appears to agree. She raises up the axe, the music swells, and Alice chops into the video monitor the Red Queen has been using to talk to them.
  • Stat-O-Vision: How the Red Queen sees the world.
  • Stripperiffic: As Jovovich pointed out on the "Making Of" feature for Apocalypse, they had to find a way to make Alice sexy since "in real life, she just wears a security uniform [and] no one pays to see that". Thus, Alice dons the red dress and black short shorts. Admittedly, the dress doesn't give her too much trouble since she's wearing a jacket over it for most of her action scenes.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: This happens four times — once in the laser trap scene, once with the "dining room" attack scene, and twice with the Licker. This continues in the sequels.
  • Sword Drag: In a hilarious bit of foreshadowing, a zombie is shown dragging an axe on the floor just like the Executioner will.
  • Take a Third Option: The Red Queen gives Alice an ultimatum: Kill the infected Rain and escape or stay in the Hive and die. Kaplan pulls off a Big Damn Heroes moment by frying the Red Queen and unlocking the door.
  • Take My Hand!: Rain to J.D. It doesn't work so well.
  • Tempting Fate: J.D. after entering the door code.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: The movie features an entire cast of original characters.
  • Tongue Trauma: Alice pins the Licker's tongue to the grill in the train car's floor with a sharp piece of pipe.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One's unit didn't even bother to ask why the Red Queen had gone homicidal until it was too late. Later, Umbrella sends in another unit to reopen the Hive immediately after the first one. When this unit's confronts by Alice, who works for them and knows everything that happened down there, their knee-jerk reaction is to drug her and take her away for testing viral infection.
    • There's a small alcove between the door and the laser hallway, enough space for at least four people to stand safe from the lasers. None of them go for it.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Rain plays this straight.
  • Villain Ball: The Umbrella clean-up team sent to investigate the Hive reveal that the Red Queen has a timer running on the facility. The T-Virus broke loose and infected everything within the facility, so when the Queen's timer counts down to zero, all of the Hive's entrances will permanently seal shut. Nothing gets in or out. This seems pretty smart so far. Umbrella does not agree with this. Not only does the system have a built-in override, but the team sent to override the system contains five people. Guess what happens when they override the system?
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Rain vomits hours after being bitten by a zombie.
  • Wall Crawl: The Licker.
  • Wham Line: Upon seeing Matt start to mutate after being infected by the Licker, an Umbrella scientist has this to say:
    "I want him in the Nemesis Program."
  • What a Drag: The film shows us a rare heroic example when the Licker gets dumped out the cargo hatch and dragged beneath the train.
  • Whoosh in Front of the Camera: Near the end of the movie, Alice wakes up in an operating room in the Umbrella facility. While the audience's POV is in an observation room watching her, a figure moves across the screen (inside the observation room) with a scare chord.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Red Queen pulls one when the protagonists try to escape The Hive before the doors close for good. Alice, Matt, and Rain are trapped in a lab with a Licker at the window, which it is slowly breaking through. The only door out of the lab is locked, and the Queen won't give Alice the code unless she kills the infected Rain (and invokes Vasquez Always Dies). The Queen doesn't care if Alice kills her, as keeping the door lock will let the group live long enough for the Licker to kill them all — and keep the virus contained. She would've won, too, if Kaplan hadn't taken Option Three and fried the Red Queen to unlock the door and allow everyone to escape. This ends badly.
  • You Did Everything You Could: As Alice and Matt near the exit, Alice feels responsible for not saving all of their comrades who died:
    Alice: I failed all of them. I failed.
    Matt: Listen to me. There is nothing else you could've done.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The start of one anyway. The zombies are contained inside the facility, but they could (and inevitably do) escape.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted, subverted, inverted, played straight, played for laughs and everything in between.