UNFOLDING in 3D for the first time, the fourth instalment of the Resident Evil series welcomes back British filmmaker Paul WS Anderson to the helm, eight years after he directed the original.

UNFOLDING in 3D for the first time, the fourth instalment of the Resident Evil series welcomes back British filmmaker Paul WS Anderson to the helm, eight years after he directed the original.

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (15) continues the adventures of Alice (Milla Jovovich) as she battles the evil Umbrella Corporation.

Afterlife opens in rain-soaked Japan with the outbreak of the T-virus engineered by the Umbrella Corporation, which sweeps the globe, transforming the infected into the ravenous undead.

Fast-forwarding four years, the action moves to Los Angeles via Alaska and a prison stronghold where Alice and old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), who is suffering amnesia, meet fellow survivors.

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Claire's long lost brother, Chris (Wentworth Miller), just happens to be imprisoned in the basement and he leads the motley crew against a ferocious new evolution of the undead with mandibles, which can burrow through walls.

Resident Evil: Afterlife doesn't scare us once and the action sequences feel pedestrian with all of that slow motion.

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Anderson does at least try to make use of the 3D technology.

Bullets fly out of the screen and in one chase sequence, skull fragments and brains explode from the back of zombies' heads as Alice aims her trusty pistols at their noggins.

Milla Jovovich looks fabulous performing her own stunts and Ali Larter proves her action credentials in a showdown with The Axeman, a superhuman hooded villain who features in the games.

But while characters run for their lives for much of the film, huffing and puffing when they aren't delivering Anderson's turgid dialogue, unfortunately our pulses don't race once.

THE plot of THE HORDE (18) is fairly basic: cops seek vengeance against robbers, cops chase robbers into a run-down high-rise block in a nasty Parisian suburb, robbers fight back, and the next thing you know the survivors find themselves being chased by an army of flesh-eating zombies.

Directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher have opted for shock and throughout there tends to be someone getting either eaten, shot or beaten accompanied by gallons of blood spraying everywhere. Every wall and staircase is spattered with blood. And the sound effects are simply gruesome.

Highbrow cinema it is not, but it is hugely entertaining. Bits of it are overacted and bits of it are overdone and you, obviously, have to suspend all sense of belief. But the overall result is thoroughly watchable, even if it does leave you feeling slightly drained and shell-shocked by the end.


IF YOU think it's grim up north, you should see what it's like in the American Midwest in bleak but brilliant WINTER'S BONE (15).

View it as a modern, Kentucky-fried noir as director Debra Granik lifts the lid on the near-tribal lifestyle of a poor Ozarks community, where drugs, violence and squirrel-skinning are common place.

Jennifer Lawrence is simply stunning as tough but fragile teenager Ree, who keeps her family ticking over with a little bit of help from the neighbours. But when Ree's told she could lose her home if her drug-dealing dad doesn't turn up at court by the end of the week, the youngster is forced to take on her community's wall of silence about her missing father.

As you can imagine, the film's no barrel of laughs but it's powerful stuff and Granik refuses to sentimentalise the dilapidated community or their customs.

The wild setting feels absolutely real - aided by committed performances from the entire cast - while the deliberate pace and suitably gritty script create a sense of doom that grips from the outset.

It's harsh stuff (and not for the

squeamish) but the simple story packs one hell of an emotional wallop.


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