The Evil Ends Its Residence

After writing and directing the first Resident Evil movie, Paul W.S. Anderson restricted himself to writing the first two sequels whilst allowing other hands to direct; for the last half of the six-movie sequence, Anderson would handle the direction himself as well as doing the writing. By this point, he and series lead Milla Jovovich had married, making it a sort of horror-action power couple franchise like Underworld ended up being. (In fact, by the end it was a family affair: due to the passage of time aging previous child actresses out of the role of the Red Queen AI, their daughter Ever got the Red Queen role in The Final Chapter.)

Over the course of the first three movies, the story had covered most of the ground of the first three games – with the original movie doing the “bad shit in a lab under a lonely mansion” angle of the first game and Apocalypse incorporating the “zombie apocalypse in a city with a big bad zombie stomping around” of 2 and 3. With Extinction, the plot of the movies pushed on into original material, which the next three films would also follow. Would The Final Chapter find this zombie saga shambling to a halt, or go out with one final headshot?

Resident Evil: Afterlife

At the end of Extinction, it seemed like Anderson had written himself into a corner – with Milla Jovovich’s character Alice not only having absurd superpowers, but also an army of clones of herself who all also had the same T-virus-invoked superpowers. It’s only natural that he starts the next movie by neutralising most of these advantages – but nicely, rather than simply retconning them away he instead allows Alice to play the hand she’s dealt and make use of these resources in a devastating attack on the Umbrella Corporation headquarters. (There’s a nice shot of a security map indicating the spread of Alice-clone incursions into the base that subtly parallels an earlier shot showing the progress of the T-virus plague around the world.)

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Aliens vs. Predator: Two Great Tastes That Taste Awful Together

Now, don’t get me wrong. The idea of pitting the xenomorphs of the Alien series against the trophy hunters of Predator has yielded some interesting material if you take a whole-franchise perspective. The original Dark Horse Comics stories which introduced the idea may be some of the more respected crossover comics out there. There’s been some pretty good video games based on the concept. The xenomorph skull kept as a trophy on the Predator’s ship in Predator 2 is one of the more fun aspects of that movie.

Still, let’s not get away from the fact that when it came time to take Aliens vs. Predator (or Alien vs. Predator, the franchise is annoying inconsistent on this point) and make an actual movie out of it, the result was not one trainwreck but two – and a blemish on the reputation of the two cinematic franchises that spawned the idea. Why, when these are two creatures originating in the movies, do people seem not able to make a good Aliens vs. Predator movie? Let’s find out.

Alien vs. Predator

This one is misnamed because you have a whole bunch of xenomorphs against one Predator so it should really be Aliens vs. Predator. In terms of plot, it riffs on Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness playbook by setting its story in Antarctica; in the opening sequence a guy from an old-timey Antarctic expedition is pursued to his death by a Predator and a Xenomorph. We then cut to the present day: a Weyland Industries company satellite in low Earth orbit has discovered some sort of ancient ruin in the depths of Antarctica, and Mr. Weyland himself (Lance Henriksen) assembles an elite team of explorers and archaeologists to investigate. (This is altogether more like Prometheus than I think people like to admit.)

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Please Don’t Be Sad, Sam Neill

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

If there’s one thing which the horror career of Sam Neill has regularly taught us, it’s that the man just isn’t equipped to deal with divorce, bereavement, and other relationship setbacks. It seems that whenever one of his fictional marriages unravel, things run out of control, he can’t keep hold of his emotions, people end up dying and the gates of hell get busted wide open.

Well, I’ve learned a few things myself in my time about the rusty, blood-soaked bear traps that litter the path of romance. The bad news is that you can never fully comprehend and encompass the sheer complexity of the human heart, which means that you can never truly know whether your partner’s love is genuinely enduring or whether it will vanish forever tomorrow, like a pattern in a kaleidoscope that vanishes after a turn. The good news is that you can never fully comprehend and encompass the sheer complexity of the human heart, which means that you should never underestimate your capability to heal and recover from a traumatic breakup. (The other bad news is that the hacksaw is only strong enough to cut through your flesh and bone, but not the aforementioned bear traps themselves. I don’t know where you go to buy hacksaws of that Very Specific Level of Strength, but frankly I think just offering them for sale is giving people ideas.)

I feel bad for Neill, and for everyone else struggling with these issues, so in reviewing these movies I decided to see what useful tips for divorcees I can tease out from their stories. As it turns out, the answer is “a lot” – Sam Neill is really awful at dealing with the end of relationships.

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One of These Evils Is Not Like the Others

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

So, the Resident Evil movies. They can’t be any good, can they? I mean, look at the source material. The plots don’t make sense. The cast of characters consists of a large number of interchangable people with guns and a smug guy called Wesker. The standards of acting established in the games are uninspiring to say the least.

Surely the Hollywood versions are going to be shit?

That’s what I thought as I delved into this boxed set of the first three films in the series. One of the films was exactly as shit as I thought it would be. One of them surprised me by being actually pretty good. And the first one surprised me by being even worse than I was expecting…

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