Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021) Film Review

Certificate: 15

Director: Johannes Roberts

Screenwriter: Johannes Roberts

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Hannah John-Kamen

Genre: Horror, Action

Runtime: 1hr 47 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 2.5 Stars

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Once the booming home of pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation, Raccoon City is now a dying Midwestern town. The company’s exodus left the city a wasteland with great evil brewing below the surface. When that evil is unleashed, the townspeople are forever changed and a small group of survivors must work together to uncover the truth behind Umbrella and make it through the night. – From IMDB

As much as I am a little ashamed to admit it, I really do love the original Resident Evil movies.  All of them.  Yes they slowly get worse as they go along, but they are just great trashy, corny films, that you don’t have to think too hard about and I always have a great time with.  So a reboot naturally made me a little anxious. 

Movies based on Video Games very rarely end up being the masterpieces that both we the audience and the film makers want them to be, so I wasn’t expecting miracles.  But I was expecting to be entertained.  And for the most part I was.  After the initial slow pace picked up, and the real creepy stuff started happening, it wasn’t awful.  In fact the film, especially those early scenes in the streets of the city, had some really good unsettling atmosphere.  Helped even more that we as an audience, sort of know what’s coming, so we have the added anticipation. 

These were a new kind of zombie, ones that were almost intelligent, and could sneak up on their victim and then attack suddenly and violently, so yes, this means this film relies heavily on a shit ton of jump scares.  So if they bother you, probably not a film you will enjoy. 

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I didn’t like that we never really got the whole story, instead we just get bits and pieces from Claire and the materials left behind under the mansion.  It felt like we never got enough information to be as outraged as we should have been.  Or even really to understand what was happening to the people of Raccoon City, and what Umbrella were really doing.

This aside though, my biggest gripe was with the characters.  Some of them, Claire and Chris mostly, were fairly similar to their game counterparts, and for the most pat, Kaya Scodelario and Robbie Amell did the best they could with the bare bones they were given.  Their characters aren’t really explored much beyond their family feud and their dead parents.  But characters like Jill Valentine were nothing like their source material.  And lovers of the video game are likely to be pretty annoyed about the film’s version of Leon, who isn’t done any kind of justice here.

We also learn so little about any of the side (read expendable) characters before they die, that when they are suffering these tragic, horrifying deaths, there is no emotional impact.  Beyond their names we know nothing about them. 

So yes, this film is deeply flawed, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed, just don’t go in expecting to be blown away.

‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’ is out now in UK Cinemas

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