What better set to visit on Friday the 13th than 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'? Just outside the downtown core of Toronto and a few blocks away from the shores of Lake Ontario, we arrive at the innocuous-looking studio. Once we step inside, it's like Halloween in the middle of November. Ghoulish things abound, from grotesque mutant dogs to dead-body dummies lying on gurneys. Based on the ever-popular Capcom video games, this fourth incarnation of 'Resident Evil' promises to be the biggest and best yet.

Read on for The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'






What better set to visit on Friday the 13th than 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'? Just outside the downtown core of Toronto and a few blocks away from the shores of Lake Ontario, we arrive at the innocuous-looking studio. Once we step inside, it's like Halloween in the middle of November. Ghoulish things abound, from grotesque mutant dogs to dead-body dummies lying on gurneys. Based on the ever-popular Capcom video games, this fourth incarnation of 'Resident Evil' promises to be the biggest and best yet.

At the helm of the film is returning director Paul WS Anderson ('AVP: Aliens vs. Predator', 'Event Horizon', 'Mortal Kombat'), who, in some way or another, has had an influence on the other three 'Resident Evil' movies. He was responsible for the original 'Resident Evil,' and was very eager to return to the series as director for this fourth installment. This time around, he's also the husband of the movie's star, Milla Jovovich, who fully embodies bad-ass protagonist Alice.

Also reprising her role is 'Heroes' star Ali Larter, who returns as the irrepressible Claire Redfield. New faces include 'Prison Break's' Wentworth Miller, who stars as Claire's brother Chris. Shawn Roberts ('Diary of the Dead', 'Land of the Dead') takes on the ultimate villain role as the evil mastermind Albert Wesker.

'Resident Evil: Afterlife' begins in the same apocalyptic world as the other films, where humans are transformed into the undead upon contact with a synthetically-created T-virus. Alice and her rag-tag group of survivors continue on their journey to find a safe haven away from the villainous Umbrella Corporation, the makers of the virus; in this movie, they head far away from Raccoon City towards Los Angeles (though Toronto stands in for both). But is it all a trap set by Wesker?

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'

3D: Up Close and Personal
Back in November of '09 (pre-'Avatar'), 3D was not yet a zeitgeist, but rather a whole new wonderful world that filmmakers had yet to tap into. On the set of 'Resident Evil: Afterlife,' techies, directors and actors alike were gushing about how amazing this movie looks in 3D. This is the first movie in the series to be 3D, and for all you trivia buffs, this is the first video-game-turned-motion-picture to be done in 3D. Says star Milla Jovovich: "We have Alice flying a plane in this one, so you really get this feeling of flying this thing, of swooping down and flying through things. And also, a big thing of mine was doing a big jump, so you have a feeling of diving. In 3D, it's going to be unbelievable."

Her husband and director Anderson fully agrees that 3D has upped the ante for this series. "I think my style of shooting is very conducive to 3D anyway," he said. "I love things that totally f**k with your equilibrium, like the 'Back to the Future' ride at Universal [Studios]. I think I've always shot my movies that way, from 'Event Horizon' onwards. I feel like 3D is the wave of the future for cinema. You really feel like you're on the cutting edge."



Women Kick Ass
For fans of these movies, this is nothing new, but this time around Ali Larter engages in more kickassery, and rumor on set has it there will be several Alice clones, so put your imagination to good use! "What you see by the end is that these two women are survivors," says Larter. "They have each other's back. Period. I love that there's room in this film for two powerful women. I have a fight with the Axeman in torrential rain. I'm up on the wall, spinning, jumping, kicking. It's awesome." OK fanboys, calm down.

Two (or Three or Four...) Are Better Than One
As I said, there are Alice clones. It's almost like Anderson and his team peeked into our dreams, isn't it? So not only do we get to watch Milla in fighting form, but we get to watch several different versions of her in 3D.

"I've been playing all of the clones, which has been interesting but also disconcerting," says Jovovich. "You're playing to an 'X' over there, and then another 'X' over there. Each clone has its own little personality difference. Also -- the stunts go off the charts in this one."

Who Let the Dogs Out?
The ubiquitous 'Resident Evil' zombie dobermans are back, this time even more mutated and vicious than ever before. In the previous films, the mutated dogs were rabid, foaming at the mouth, and very resistant to damage. In 'Afterlife,' they're not only meaner, but their heads are literally split in half, exposing long dual mandibles of teeth with which to eat you. Think insect-dog. Killer insect-dog.

Producer Jeremy Bolt says there's another special zombie creature that he can't reveal, but we think he may be referring to a doberman with tentacles, which was occasionally hinted at by different folks on set. And if it's not a doberman with tentacles, something has tentacles in this film. That much we can be certain of. Another hint: Bolt says, "Let's just say we loved the game."

Video Game Is King
Nearly everyone I spoke to was going on about how much this movie emulates the game. Everything from character storylines to costumes to filming techniques are modeled on the Capcom vision. 'Afterlife' won't just have the gimmicky 3D hands reaching out of the screen; Frank 'Paco' Fisher of the camera and electrical department (who has also worked on 'Tron' and 'Avatar') says that it's "as close to a game as you can get." Just as a gamer walks down a corridor in the game, so too will the camera. Cut scenes from the game were used for comparison during filming.

"We have a great relationship with Capcom," says Bolt. "We helped them, and they helped us."

Anderson agrees: "I was writing the script before the game came out, and then the game out. It had huge elements that were already in the screenplay. Talking to Capcom... it's so funny. Every time I go to Japan to meet with them, it's like I'm going to the Umbrella Corporation. I ended up going over the script and bringing it more in line with the latest game."

Upping the Franchise
'Afterlife' promises to be the biggest, baddest iteration of 'Resident Evil' ever. Anderson is over the moon about being back in the director's chair, and judging from his tone as he talks about the movie, he thinks of the series like his child.

"I never really felt like I went away [from these movies]. I've written all the movies and produced them all in some way... I was excited about this fourth film, at least conceptually. I wanted to make a jump, sort of like the difference between 'The Terminator' and 'T2.' Like, it was still the 'Terminator' franchise, but something bigger and grander."

Alice, Redux
In real life, Jovovich and Anderson are the proud parents of a 2-year-old daughter, and this has had an impact on the way Jovovich plays Alice. In a way, she's more maternal, and has taken on more of a caregiver role.

"At some point, Alice loses her powers in this movie," says Jovovich. "It's actually a really great thing, because in a sense it makes her human again, which she's wanted. It gives her a lightness and a sense of relief to just be a bad-ass again, and not a superhero. I think that shows throughout the rest of the movie – this kind of joy."

Sibling Revelry
Fans of the game have constantly asked when Claire Redfield's brother Chris would be making an appearance in the movie franchise. Popular in the video game, Chris is depicted as a bad-ass, muscular warrior in fatigues. Wentworth Miller is taking on the role with gusto, despite some early fears that he couldn't match up to the lore surrounding Chris' character.

"The first thing I didn't do is Google Chris Redfield," says Wentworth. "But I did Google pictures of him, and went to a lot of different fansites. I remember thinking, 'If what I'm seeing is an accurate representation, this guy is straight from the WWF!' His arms were the size of tree trunks, and I only had 4 weeks to prepare for this movie! They say that ignorance is bliss – which I think in this case is a good thing. I went into filming a blank slate. I hadn't seen the movies, never played the video games. But I quickly became aware of a rabid, huge fan base for the movies, the video games and this specific character. I wanted to proceed with respect."

As for his interaction on-screen with Claire, the brother-sister dynamic is going to add another dimension to the film. "Chris and Claire together bring something particularly special and significant to 'Resident Evil,'" says Wentworth. "They represent a familial bond, which is something everyone in the audience can invest in and relate to. The audience can therefore root for and understand these two."

Onscreen sister Ali Larter agrees. "When the film opens, you'll see that Claire has made it through on her survival instincts alone," she says. "You're also going to see her reunite with her brother, which I think viewers will enjoy. To bring depth and emotion into a sci-fi film is very important... It's not some weepy reunion, but you get glimpses of humanity and relationships."

'The Matrix' Meets Kubrick Meets 'Silent Hill'
The sets for the film are nothing short of remarkable. It feels like we're walking into some not-too-distant-future science lab. Everything is sparkling white and pristine. Even the camerapeople and set folks have to wear bags over their shoes so the floors remain perfectly clean. Producer Bolt says there's a "Kubrickian whiteness" to the lab setting, and "it's a lot more clinical than the rest of the sets."

Visual FX producer Eric Robertson says, "The third film ['Extinction'] had a western sort of feel. In this one, we're doing a lot of white, kind of like 'Silent Hill.'"

Shawn Roberts, as Wesker, sits in his throne overlooking all the events going on in the movie. With his sunglasses on, there's a definite 'Matrix' vibe coming off of him. "With Wesker, there's a mix between Keanu [Reeves] in 'The Matrix' and something more evil," says Bolt. "He's got a megalomaniac thing going on."

"I used to watch 'Die Hard' with my dad, and always wanted to be an action star," says Roberts. "Wesker is pretty hard-core, in fact one of the most hard-core villains ever, so it's a dream come true for me."

More Importantly, Will There Be a Fifth Movie?
Everyone wants to know the answer to this question. Of course, as is the case in Hollywood, no one really knows. There is a fifth video game ('Resident Evil: Degeneration'), so why not a fifth movie? Anderson and Bolt are tight-lipped, though they both profess their love for the series and hint that the possibility is there, depending on how well this fourth movie performs at the box office. Judging from what I've seen on set, fans of the franchise and newbies alike are going to love it.

'Resident Evil: Afterlife' is slated for release on September 10, 2010.