Time on the dashboard reads 05:55, the printed email confirmation for the Evil Meets Evil night notes a 6:15pm start. With a heavy downpour in peak hour traffic there is no way the trip will take a mere twenty minutes. Things were readied by all accounts at 1733 but as Norrin chose to take a shower at that precise moment—despite being awake for twenty-five hours straight—hopes for making early, gone.
Chugging along in pre-form grid-lock on the way to Fox Studios in Moore Park, the muffler strums the head prepping it for an aneurysm. Along with the prospect of not knowing why a preview screening for "a special viewing of Killzone never before seen footage and a preview of Resident Evil: Apocalypse" takes place so early in the evening thoughts immediately turn to curbing other thoughts that would leave the hands bloody and the clothes momentarily stained with guilt.
Daylight fades quick as the rain intensifies into waves and the wetness seeps through to make breathing fraught with danger. This more so than sitting in a car with a driver who has gone without sleep for at least a day. The M4 Motorway, Parramatta Road, City Road, Cleveland Street and then onto Lang Road for the creep to roll into Fox Studios. The minutes continue to click over with no discretion or joy. 1815 is long past and now weeps 1858. Parking is tight and the only vacant spot has a ute parked over the line. Impressive parking skills are put to work as the dash is made past the Hordern Pavillion and up to the Hoyts cinema complex. Not the Cinema Paris.
Pretentious secrecy and affected elitism not needed as two guys are let on through after flashing blank pieces of paper. Invitations for the night aren't checked. Faked photo IDs absolutely over the top. No checks or name calls off an invite list.
Whatever happened in the minutes before Olivera (Oded Fehr), Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and Peyton Wells (Razaaq Adoti) are locked out along with a horde of citizens ready to test the spongency of bodies against sanctioned fire, cannot be recalled. This is the fate of coming late. For this reason the set up and premise of the movie are only guessed at with some viral outbreak affecting a majority of the populace in Raccoon city. This would not matter as events are later recapped and explained around the middle and end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
The plump seats in cinema one are easy enough to find, big gaping holes left all over the theatre. "No allocated seating" the exact wording on the invite. Front row of the midsection sports a low rise wall asking to have feet supplanted direct. Whether or not the people just in front of this knew someone was kicking his leg to see if his knee would pop is uncertain. Leg room in this particular row is very generous and so is the operator of the speaker system in this particular night. Or they may have been coked.
Cranked up beyond levels necessary—and even more than underneath a flight path—the film suffers from a poor handling of the audio levels with the non-stop shattering of glass, clanging metal and gun blasts whored beyond bareable. Resident Evil: Apocalypse is left then to nothing more than the eyes with faint whispers of dialogue heard over the sounds of weapons fire ad nauseum.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) bridges the two Resident Evil movies by suffering flashbacks to key points taken from the initial. A cold and emotionless demeanour casts the eyes to show the break suffered at the hands of a working experiment of the Umbrella Corporation, evil entity of the film. Mike Epps makes with the token funny guy, L.J. and delivers a great line that drops the play and style of another video game, Grand Theft Auto.
Subtlety is nowhere in sight as this is no horror movie relying on what evil machinations drive men to do evil deeds. This is horror driven by action and loud noises, filled to the brim with zombies (only one of which happens to be obese despite the buffet on offer). Gruesome scenes run the gamut of the duration and don't let up except to for fight scenes which unbearably manage to rise decibel levels beyond the limit.
Shock is hardly registered as the exhaustion of keeping the ears safe and away from bleeding provide too great a distraction. Horrific scenes are noted but sadly fall due to the constant barrage of just noise, noise, noise. A rhythm builds and perhaps this is what takes away from being truly scared shitless.
On leaving, an usher beckons and pleads with those there at the credit roll to take some sharp foiled packets of an indiscernible goo from the Killzone tie-in. Basket not included.
Reviewed on Thursday, 21 October 2004