Is It Horror? Resident Evil (2002)

It has been some time since we have done an “Is it Horror” post, but Resident Evil is a film series with a lot of debate among horror fans.  Part of the issues is the game series.  The Resident Evil video game series was one of a kind at the time of its release, we fell into the world of survival horror.  The first three games of the series were amazing, Code Veronica, Resident Evil 4 were on par with the first few games, but Resident Evil 5 and 6 were huge steps back.  You can read about the game series as our friend Bryan rant and raves in The Rise and Fall of Resident Evil pt1.  He is crazy about the video game series and completely hates the film franchise.

But today, I will try and figure out if Resident Evil is a horror movie, or is it an action film.  Well, this one to me is a no brainer…or is it?  I have been known to flip and flop.  I have a big movie collection and my horror collection takes up a large portion of the collection.  I have had the series in my collection and it is currently out of the collection.  But in watching the first movie again, I think it is safe to say it may be the closest to horror of all of the movies.

Let us begin…Via wikipedia and

Resident Evil is a 2002 science fictionactionhorror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.

Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

That is a good start, two websites have the movie listed as Action and Horror.  So there that is it…Resident Evil is horror!

Hold on, wait a sec…As a horror fan, some may have a problem with this movie.  Some people may think it is more action than horror and I know for a fact there are horror fans that say “HELL NO!”  Well, I have been on the fence for a long time, but I have finally come to a decision on whether or not Resident Evil is a horror film.

Before the big reveal, which you can scroll to the bottom of the page and read the answer, I want to talk about some fan issues with the series.  Did you know George Romero was going to direct the first Resident Evil and it was going to stick closer to the first game?  Well, that is one issue, the game was iconic, a large mansion, a special forces team, zombies and other monsters.  Romero, the master of zombies seems like the right choice.  The project got the green light in 1999.  When Romero left the project, things changed.  I have not read the Romero script, but I know when the movie opened and Alice is in the mansion, I was excited.  But then we got a left turn that was not what I expected.

I watched the film and enjoyed it for the most part.  The change was something I was ok with, considering the game took hours to play and the more I thought about a rehash of the video game as a movie, well it would have failed.  The action made sense to me, we are dealing with the S.T.A.R.S team who were the cream of the crop of the Racoon City police.  We got zombies and a homicidal Red Queen, oh and the licker at the end of the film.  Sure it was not a scary movie, but there are horrors within the film.  First off, the Red Queen was locking down the Hive and there is a race against time.  The T-virus was released turning the people in the Hive.  The T-virus resurrections the people who died in the Hive and people died.

Sure the film is not scary, but in the 1990s and early 2000s were a rough time for horror.  This movie came out and was hip and for more than your average horror lover.  Resident Evil may be part of the Zombie boom in the early 2000s that is, well kinda still raging.  There are people who say movies like 28 Days Later and the fantastic remake of Dawn of the Dead are responsible for the rebirth.  Resident Evil was released in March 2002, were 28 Days Later came in November and of course Dawn of the Dead in 2004.  Is it responsible, maybe.

Resident Evil is recognized as a horror film and I agree.  The series goes deeper into the action genre as it moves on.  There are plenty of horror elements in the rest of the series, but the first has its roots in horror.  Resident Evil is Horror

Whether or not you think the series is a horror series, the first movie is horror.  I mean, in many ways the Purge is not a horror series.  But it is embraced by horror fans.  So I am going to give the entire Resident Evil series a title of “soft horror”.  Resident Evil is a horror film for the novice horror fan or the fan who is not a hardcore fan.  That is good, Resident Evil can be used as a gateway movie for fans of action movies.

About Ray Marek III 697 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)