Review of ‘Resident Evil’: Welcome to Raccoon City: One for the Fans
Before the movie starts, I am in two minds about Resident Evil. Welcome to Raccoon city. I remember the disappointing run of Constantin Film movies, which my cynic self recalls. A sinking feeling in my stomach follows. This is a natural reaction given Paul W.S. Anderson did everything possible to destroy the appeal of the game franchise during his adaptation.
But there is also a sense of optimism running through my veins. The trailers for the new Resi movie are a welcome departure from previous films. Milla Jovovich’s portrayal of the superhuman Alice is gone. Resident Evil welcomes you to Raccoon city. It intends to use the characters from the game as the main protagonists. These locations are strikingly similar to the ones in the game. What could go wrong?
It doesn’t begin too strongly. The film is trying for a creepy beginning at the Raccoon Orphanage. But instead, it feels dull and lethargic. This lacklustre display dominates the first act. Although there are many fun references to the source material, the lines are not well delivered. The action picks up quickly, however.
The big-screen Raccoon city comes to life once the zombies cause havoc (spoiler but not a spoiler). Technically, it’s undead. But the point is this: the reimagining begins to work. The beautiful main hall of the police station and its dark, winding corridors are claustrophobically terrifying. The Spencer Mansion is both enticing and terrifying. Many of the rooms are covered in shadows, and there’s danger lurking inside.
It is both thrilling and comforting to watch our heroes navigate these iconic buildings. These are places that many gamers know. These places have been walked countless times by us, with some even walking at breakneck speed. It’s our world, and it’s not possible to feel safe. While Chris’s encounter with the undead should be enjoyable, we all know the game, and there will be moments of panic for our viewers.
The movie is full of effective scares, but there are plenty of silly, cheesy laughs. The hammy dialogue comes from Nicole Tompkins and Nick Apostolides, who are the voices of Leon (and Jill) in the remakes. There are many funny moments in this movie, some of which are intended and others more open to interpretation.
Yet, the game has real moments of emotional impact. Similar to recent video games Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City can make you care about the world, its characters, and the bizarre situation they find themselves in. Although the zombies look nothing like scary, I was still shocked when they outnumbered a S.T.A.R.S. member. They can cause real damage in this movie, just as in the games.
Not all monsters are bad, however. The zombies were trying to access the R.P.D. The licker looks like Eric Andre, trying to access the D.N.C. You’ll find it hard not to appreciate the movie’s creators’ efforts, from visuals to movement. After realizing what I was up against, I found myself wanting to shout “BE SURE!” at the characters. This kind of empathy is something I have never experienced in horror movies.
It’s not all scary, as I mentioned. Resident Evil. Welcome to Raccoon city. It’s often funny, but that’s Resi. This series is scary and sloppy, but it also has some moments of genuine emotion. The film is a masterclass in understanding the assignment and delivers the same experience beautifully with some creative twists.
Many characters in Resident Evil resemble their videogame counterparts to a T, but there are some intriguing interpretations. Leon, for example, is not the super-squeaky-clean and eager rookie officer we remember from Resident Evil2. These changes help to make the film a distinct entity while still paying homage to its predecessors.
The only problem I see with Resident Evil – Welcome to Raccoon Country is that it was designed with fans in mind. Newcomers might feel overwhelmed and even confused. The T-Virus and G-Virus are not mentioned in great detail. This makes it easy for people who don’t know these quantities to overlook them. Understanding character motivations will also be difficult.
Add to this the many references to video games, and viewers would understand if they were not familiar with the story. In this regard, it’s not a great movie.