Welcome to Raccoon City, a reboot of the Resident Evil franchise, is a mashup of storey elements from the first and second Resident Evil games. This origin storey is a survival-zombie horror that follows a group of survivors who must race against time to uncover the truth that has turned their isolated town into a death trap.
The Resident Evil franchise has been around as long as the hills. Technically, no, but you get the idea. Even though Alice never appeared in a Resident Evil video game, Milla Jovovich has become the face of the franchise over the years. In comparison to its predecessors, director Johannes Roberts’ latest reboot comes the closest to the source material. Is that, however, sufficient?
The action-horror film captures the eerie atmosphere perfectly. Throughout a single night, a group of daredevils must discover what is wreaking havoc on their dark and desolate Raccoon City. The town, which was once a bustling centre of opportunity, has been reduced to a creepy ghost town where people have turned into flesh-eating zombies. This comes on the heels of the abrupt closure of the pharmaceutical behemoth ‘Umbrella Corporation.’ The mayhem is caused by the company’s involvement in bioweaponry and genetic experimentation. Will the protagonists be able to make it through the night?
This adaptation stays true to the games. And it delivers on its promise of undeniable guilty pleasure. You go into the movie knowing exactly what you’re going to get… a pulpy horror film in which a swarm of ugly zombies and creatures are slaughtered by gun-wielding survivors The set pieces are as creepy as they should be, and the scares are amusing. It’s the perfect Halloween thriller, complete with gore, bikes, badass women, and a backstory.
But something isn’t quite right. What does feel a little off is the film’s pacing and intent. The build-up is excellent. It manages to transport you to a dark place despite being unhurried.
Consider Pripyat after the Chernobyl disaster. The houses, the haunted orphanage, the toys, the lonely nights, and the streets give you the creeps. However, once the main characters are introduced, the film devolves into a B-level thriller with no interest in telling a storey. The disconnect feels too obvious, from gradually arousing our curiosity to launching us into mindless action.
The film suffers from inconsistent editing throughout, particularly during the overtly sharp horror stings and generic action sequences.