Film Review – Resident Evil: Welcome To Racoon City (2021)

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Video game movie adaptations are hard to get right. If they stick too close to the source material then they’re in danger of alienating a wider audience. On the other hand, if they try to be as creatively different from the games as possible then they may very well end up annoying the fanbase just so that they can sell more tickets. Unfortunately, while Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City does try and go for an authentic aesthetic, recreating the settings of the game, it also makes some terrible decisions in terms of character and plot.

This means that while the latest Resident Evil movie adaptation attempts to reboot the franchise, it also alienates both die hard Resident Evil fans and casual viewers alike.

Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) grew up in an orphanage alongside her brother, Chris (Robbie Amell) which was run by William Birkin (Neal McDonough). Claire still has nightmares about her childhood as well because despite what everybody else was saying, she regularly saw a creature which lived in the orphanage. Cut to 20 years later and Claire is coming back to her childhood home of Raccoon City, but it seems that a more sinister presence is about to take control of its citizens.

Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia) is fresh from the academy and is eager to get started, although as any rookie knows, their first day is going to be difficult as everybody is going to test their mettle. The problem is that Raccoon City is about to be the centre for a zombie infestation and soon it’s up to Leon to hold the fort on the front line.

Meanwhile, Jill Valentine (Hannah John Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper) are heading out as part of a team to investigate an old mansion where an unusually mutilated body has been found.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City mixes the storylines from the first two games and attempts to bring the franchise’s most well-loved characters together. Unfortunately, this also means that the characters seem to have been mixed up too, with some taking on other character traits while others have had theirs removed entirely.

For casual audiences, this means that Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City comes across as another generic zombie movie and for avid fans it feels unsatisfying. Changing characters so drastically makes the fans feel cheated as they’re not given what they are expecting while those unfamiliar with the franchise will wonder what made the games so special.

References to the games are also scattered around the movie for eagle eyed fans, but they’re so random that for those who don’t know then they may feel wildly out of place. Perhaps Resident Evil is finally proving to be a franchise that’s better off dead.

Horror, Thriller | 18 | Blu-Ray,DVD | 7th February 2022 (UK) | Sony Pictures UK | Dir. Johannes Roberts | Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Hannah John-Kamen, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue, Neal McDonaugh