The Resident Evil Saga: How Umbrella Corps Has Been Built into a Mega-Franchise

The original Resident Evil film series concludes with its sixth installment, The Final Chapter, in 2016. Sitting at the screenwriter’s desk for all six films was Paul W. S. Anderson, who also directed four of them. It all began with Cap com’s hit video game, Resident Evil (known in its home country of Japan as Biohazard), released in 1996. There was nothing like it at the time of the release, and Capcom has every right to say they invented the action horror genre in the gaming industry. As of 2022, there are 10 main Resident Evil games—excluding remakes and spinoffs, making the Resident Evil Saga sprawling in its depth.

Resident Evil Saga

Although the films are adaptations of the gameplay, they have managed to develop their own storyline without a hardwired connection to any of the Capcom versions. There are of course many similarities, for example, the zombie virus outbreak, some of the characters’ names, and the Umbrella Corporation as the culprit behind the apocalypse. That said, the films are entirely watchable without requiring prior experience with the source material. 

In the first film—Resident Evil (2002)—the main character named Alice, portrayed by Milla Jovovich, wakes up with no recollection of who and where she is. The audience is left to discover the world as seen through her eyes. Such a setup mimics the gameplay experience to an extent as if viewers can only rely on Alice to reveal the bigger story scene by scene. It is also the starting line where the film begins to take a separate path from the game.

Resident Evil Saga

According to director and screenwriter Paul W. S. Anderson, the film was intended from the very beginning to follow a different plotline and format. Certain sequences involving impressive martial art moves and impossible gunplay still resemble the scenes from Cap com’s game, but the film comes with its own distinctive tone. Alice starts the journey as a damsel-in-distress constantly bewildered by just about everything around her. Soon the pace picks up and she becomes a combat-ready heroine. If the game is slow-paced horror dread, the film gives the visual treatment of an action-packed zombie extermination routine.
All five sequels in the original series put Alice at the forefront of the battle against the Umbrella Corporation. Bear in mind that Alice is an original character created for the films. There is no character named Alice in any of the Resident Evil games. According to Anderson, it would be a mistake to try to make a movie look too much like a video game. Many filmmakers have tried multiple times to adapt games into movies, with underwhelming results.

Among the most notable examples is Doom (2005), which attempted to mirror the actual gameplay. The 1993 MS-DOS first-person shooter has been cited as one of the greatest and most significant games in history. It sounds like a wonderful recipe to make sure the audience is engaged over the course of the movie, but it misses an important point: in films, viewers are not in control. Literal adaptation of the game’s format will never deliver an equally satisfying experience. In the case of Doom, the filmmakers probably tried to appeal to both fans of the game and moviegoers at the same time. The feature didn’t get a warm reception either.

Gamers should like film adaptations of the games they play, at least in theory. The industry, however, tells a different story. It is fair to say that no film, regardless of how advanced the visual effects are, will ever match the hands-on experience players get from video games. This is where Resident Evil films stand out from the crowd. It is a live-action film series that takes the building blocks of an established game and uses them to the big screen’s benefit. Fans of the games understandably may not like the storylines, but at least the films have enough distinctive qualities to establish their own audience.

A Trendsetter

Zombie films were not as common back in 2002 as they are today. When the first Resident Evil film came out, it became an immediate hit to trigger the resurrection of a slumbering sub-genre. The film marked the glorious comeback of the undead-entertainment after spending more than 20 years shuffling about in the obscurity of direct-to-video entrapment. Alice had already unleashed a flurry of bullets at virus-infected monsters before 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead remake, and The Walking Dead even existed. 

Umbrella Corporation, the all-encompassing tech giant in the film series, also plays a key role in the “trendsetter’ department. Its pervasive surveillance and secretive operation under the disguise of a friendly company make for a perfect fictional adjunct to Twitter, Facebook, Slack, and other digitized behemoths that have thus far infiltrated our personal lives. 

The Resident Evil series works because it never has the attitude to mimic the game. Instead, it functions as a loyal companion to the games. Using different storylines means the series has its own continuity and will never contradict anything gamers love. To moviegoers and the film industry in general, the first film came as a welcome surprise; the good-old zombie genre finally resurfaced and featured a female main character at the forefront of the action long before it turned into a major Hollywood talking point. It is true the films receive mixed (if not negative) reviews, but the Box Office records prove that it is a commercially successful series. All films in the original series have grossed over $1.2 billion combined against a total production budget of $313 million.

We love the Resident Evil movies! The games are frightening to play, and the movies grip you in suspense, but both deliver a unique version of entertainment that only horror movie/game lovers can understand.

Do you like the Resident Evil series? Which character is your favorite? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

If you liked this then check out All the Resident Evil Games in Order: An Apocalyptic Way to Spend Your Day!

Other things you might want to know about. 

What films has Milla Jovovich been in?

According to these are Milla Jovovich’s best 10 movies.

  • Chaplin (1992)
  • Dazed and Confused (1993)
  • The Fifth Element (1997)
  • He Got Game (1998)
  • The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
  • The Claim (2000)
  • Zoolander (2001)
  • Dummy (2002)
  • Resident Evil Franchise (2002-2016)
  • A Perfect Getaway (2009)

Go to and read Caroline Kloster’s article for more details about each of the movies. 

What do we know about Paul S.W. Anderson and his films?

According to the Paul Anderson is married to Milla Jovovich and they have 3 children. When he first saw her he thought she was the coolest person he had ever seen. She is from Ukraine and he is from Poland. Their daughter Ever Anderson is getting ready to play Wendy in a new film called ‘Peter Pan and Wendy.’ For more information about this couple go to and read Nicolas Rapold’s article called ‘Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich: A Marriage Built on Monsters.’

According to here are films directed by Paul S.W. Anderson.

  • Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (Nov. 2021)
  • Here Are the Young Men (Apr. 2021)
  • Monster Hunter (Dec. 2020)
  • Insert Coin (Nov. 2020)
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Jan. 2017)
  • Pompeii (Feb. 2014)
  • Resident Evil: Retribution (Sept. 2012)
  • Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (Dec. 2011)
  • The Three Musketeers (Oct. 2011)
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife (Sept. 2010)
  • Pandorum (Sept. 2009)
  • Death Race (Aug. 2008)
  • Resident Evil: Extinction (Sept. 2007)
  • DOA: Dead or Alive (June 2007)
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Sept. 2004)
  • AVP: Alien vs. Predator (Aug. 2004)
  • Resident Evil (Mar. 2002)
  • Event Horizon (Aug. 1997)
  • Mortal Kombat (Aug. 1995)

Go to for details about each of these films.

Best Zombie Films

According to here are the best zombie films ever made. 

18. Zombieland (2009)

17. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

16. Little Monsters (2019)

15. ParaNorman (2012)

14. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

13. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

12. The Last Man on Earth (1964)

11. Ojuju (2014)

10. 28 Days Later (2002)

 9. Cemetery Man (1994)

 8. Train to Busan (2016)

 7. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

 6. Zombie (1979)

 5. “REC” (2008)

 4. Rapid (1977)

 3. Re-Animator (1985)

 2. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

 1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Go to and read Alison Foreman’s article called, ‘The Best Zombie Movies Ever Made’ and get more details about each of these movies.