One of the most hotly anticipated horror movies of 2017 hits US Theaters tomorrow: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will be the 6th (and we’re assuming, the last) installment of the breakout franchise launched almost exactly 15 years ago in 2002. It looks to be a satisfying conclusion to the story of Alice (a cybernetically enhanced special operative played by Milla Jovovich) and her battle against the insidious Umbrella Corp in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies.
And while I’m just as excited as most Horror Freaks to see the franchise come full circle, it’s important to remember the human cost of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. While all movie sets can be dangerous, especially those that employ complicated stunts, most fans may not be aware that this production was plagued by several devastating accidents, one crippling and one fatal.
On the South African set in 2015, professional stuntwoman Olivia Jackson was in a motorcycle accident that paralyzed her left arm, which needed to be amputated. She was put into a medically-induced coma and has described the resulting nerve pain as “excruciating”. At the time, Jovovich lamented the tragedy: “It’s a miracle that she survived. All of us here have been praying every single day for her and her family and sending our thoughts out hoping some of the positive energy reaches her, because she truly needs it.” (Source)
Jackson reflected on the accident again last October in an interview with The Sun:
“There’s no point in feeling down about life – it won’t make my arm grow back. I used to miss my old face but now I style my hair to fall forwards to hide the big scar. Surgeons did an amazing job piecing fragments of my facial bones together and I think I look all right now.”
While we wish Jackson continued success as she rehabilitates, hers is not the only tragedy that befell the production of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.
Also in December 2015, 34-year-old South African crewmember Ricardo Cornelius died after being crushed while moving equipment on set. TheWrap described the accident (and aftermath) in detail:
Ricardo Cornelius was part of a team manually rotating a U.S. Army Hummer on the Milla Jovovich horror-thriller when the vehicle slipped and pinned him beneath. Cornelius was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, where he was pronounced dead hours later. Cornelius’ widow Shafiefa gave a lengthy interview, in which she accused her husband’s local employer All Access Crews of minimizing the injury to obtain identification documents for his treatment.
Shafiefa said the company “helped her financially,” but she’s in the dark about the events surrounding her husband’s death.
I’m certainly not calling for a boycott, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to point out the human toll Resident Evil: The Final Chapter took. If nothing else, we need to appreciate those who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of entertainment—and hope studios are doing everything possible to ensure cast and crewmembers are safe on sets.
Official Synopsis: Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.