Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City

Directed By Jonahannes Roberts

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

The Plot – 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.

Rated R for strong violence and gore, and adult language throughout.

RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY – Official Trailer (HD) | In Theaters Nov 24 – YouTube


– Improved direction. As to where Paul W.S Anderson was the death of the original cinematic franchise, Roberts seems more in-tuned with the essence of the games that created a legion of fans, and brought with it a series of imitators trying to capitalize on horror enthusiasts everywhere. In channeling such, Roberts presentation serves as the grittiest for the entire franchise, removing much of the insubstantial style in gimmicks that convoluted and distracted audience focus, and instead exchanging it for versatile shot compositions and low-grade color-correction that goes a long way in fleshing out the gloomy atmosphere of Raccoon City. Speaking of which, Roberts channels an atmospheric dread that weighs heavily on the shoulders of our group of durable protagonists, while simultaneously bottling a hopelessness and helplessness that keeps the isolation factor for the city firmly in the grip of the audience at all times.

– Seamless transfer. Much of the production design that makes up the many sets and story locations for the film are lifted faithfully from the familiarity of the original two games, and help to give this adaptation a sense of heritage in the roots it continuously prescribes along the way. Most evident is the scenes in and around the Spencer Mansion, cementing much of the iconography and angles that permeated chillingly throughout the games, but made all the more impressive for the spare details inside of the mansion that prove it to be anything but a surface level delve. In addition to this, the wardrobe department recreates much of the likenesses in threads not only with the designs and color schemes of the R.C.P.D, but also in some of the damage that the armor entails for certain characters, cementing a mirroring admiration and detailed faithfulness that I wish more game-to-film adaptations would take pride and importance in.

– Creature designs. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the film’s production, are the details and heft deposited to a series of computer-generated special effects that realize some truly gruesome monster designs. Part of the impressive appeal certainly comes from the intricacies that materialize with some larger than life bodily horror, especially during the film’s climax, where as many as twenty eye-balls can be seen in the bodily evolution of the character they stem from. However, the definition of the textures certainly can’t be overlooked, and when kept in tow with some valuable color coordination that not only hides the obviousness of its artificiality, but also blends in superbly with the influential lighting they coherently interact with, creating ambitious designs that breed merit as the living, breathing entities that wholeheartedly subdue our disbelief while enhancing our astonishment for what the production is able to attain with a 40 million dollar budget.

– Sturdy ensemble. While there’s nothing from this cast that I can say is truly remarkable with the emotionality deposited to their deliveries, I can say that they attained more than a serviceable job in their portrayals, despite the abundance of issues working against them at all times. The notable standout here is certainly Scodelario, who as iconic the iconic Claire Redfield, bares the brunt of her childhood trauma continuously in the poisonous atmosphere of Raccoon City, that she hates every part of. Kaya attains the coolness factor in her protagonist that Milla Jovovich worked tirelessly and heavy-handedly to attain, all the while trudging through no shortage of physicality that tests her in ways the direction of her characterization never does. I also appreciated turns from Hannah John-Kamen as Jill Valentine, my personal favorite character in the entire Resident Evil Franchise, as well as Donal Logue, who chews up as much scenery and police force ass as a hard-edged Chief Brian Irons, which feels like a character manufactured for Logue’s eccentric personality and nerve-shattered mannerisms.



– Soulless characters. There was never a point anywhere during this film where I found myself investing in the characters, nor worrying about the constant strain of their well-being. This serves as an aspect from minimal characterization, which not only keeps you from ever learning anything about these people besides the bullet point dialogue that outlines a few inconsequential summaries, but also dramatically undermines the stakes and circumstances of the ensuing plot, considering these are essentially nothing but nameless faces scattered throughout the various engagements. With more scenes focusing entirely from the perspectives of the supporting cast, much of this problem could’ve fixed itself, and the occasional motivations, which feel every bit ambiguous as the mannequins they surmise from. Instead, the film focuses a majority of its story on the Redfield siblings, but even they are only given a brief synopsis in a flashback introduction sequence, with no semblance of depth or meaning to where it hangs in the balance of their equally cryptic motivations.

– Strange marketing. Even an hour after finishing “Welcome to Raccoon City, I still can’t confidently gage who it was made for. Common conception would tell you that this is for the hardcore fans of the video game franchise, who are looking to right the wrong of seven previous films that dramatically altered the truthful emphasis of their franchise. However, there’s very little substantial delving in the material of this film that provides anything enhancing from what that demographic already knows, instead remaining surface level with the summary of the Wikipedia game plot that feels as basic and one-dimensional as any contemporary zombie offering. Even recommending it to inexperienced audiences is a huge misfire, as many themes and corresponding subplots go entirely unrecognized in the duration of the film, and what little meat there is for them to hook their intrigue to, is conjured as deep cut inside material gift-wrapped for fans of the franchise, leaving this as uninformed of an installment for newfound fans as any film previous to it.

– Underwhelming action. One element to the original films that this one can’t even touch, are the style and ingenuity deposited to various schemes and sequences that at the very least produced something substantially stimulating for that franchise. What doesn’t work here particularly revolves around the technique of Roberts behind the lens, constructing a balance of claustrophobic angles, that while they do prescribe authenticity within the compacting reality of the environment, does obscure more clarity within the conflicts than I would’ve liked. In addition to this, the angles themselves are always giving away jump scares with zombies constantly persisting in the background, before they make their presence felt. This drifts away what little scares throughout the film that we actually do get, and when coinciding with rapid fire editing and seizure-inducing lighting techniques, conjure a visual incoherence that were made all the more difficult to invest in because of the creative decisions that influenced their painful rendering.

– Shoe-horned identity. Even with this film attaining merit in the form of an authentic approach to the likenesses and intoxicating visuals, the convoluted essence of this story is still inescapable, thanks in whole with its decision to stitch the stories from the first two games together in this 98 minute film. This obviously leaves too minimal of a time allowance to properly convey the magnitude of importance within these two contrasting stories that are shamefully glossed over throughout, but particularly it’s the way the two installments continuously fight over screen dominance that was most conflicting to the entertainment value of this refreshed direction. Once again, the editing is counter-productive here, balancing between the arc’s consistently in a way that often takes the air of momentum from a scene that earned it, at the very worst time. This leaves the frequency of the experience defined by these pockets of contrasting tonal shifts that directly undercut much of the suspense garnered from invasive physical conflicts, creating an inconsistency for pacing that never stood a chance in the bottling of two entirely different films with contrasting themes and stories creating an on-going detriment to the integrity of this film.

– Poisonous dialogue. Maybe it was intentional that the dialogue distributed casually throughout this film is every bit as a wooden and obvious as their video game likenesses, but I just found it to be a symphony of tragedy weighing heavily on my ears. The lines themselves constantly feel like they’re alleviating a bigger picture in the context of their purpose, often giving away a predictability and detectability that a child could easily sniff out as being meandering. It often gives off that vibe of artificiality, whose only permeating consciousness is beating somewhere off-screen in the hands of the writer who penned them, instead of the essence of the personality on-screen who is delivering them. Finally, the R-rating that the film receives is built almost entirely on the emphasis of its usage of the four letter F-word that it disperses as casually as a teenager hanging with their friends, while far from parental ears. There’s an eagerness and desperation that comes entirely from the forcefulness of its inclusion in every single solitary sentence, and losing its luster and emphasis in the way it hammers it home continuously for all to groan.

My Grade: 4/10 or D

2 thoughts on “Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City

  1. Yeah…none of the RE flicks have been good imo. The trailers for this one looked the most like the early games to me, but I’ve always felt it would have been a better tv show than movie.

  2. While I’m glad you got a little more enjoyment out of this one then I did, I can’t deny that I kind of hated this one. I do agree that the cast is decent enough, the production design is fairly accurate, and the direction is better (though that’s not saying much since Paul W.S. Anderson’s direction is basically rock bottom). However, there are some baffling choices with the story and characters that had me wondering who this was made for just as you pointed out. I’m especially upset with how the treated Leon’s character who felt like a joke. Also, I honestly thought the CGI was really bad, especially during the climax. If it makes some fans happy then I’m glad it did, but for me this was only the slightest step up from the previous movies which isn’t saying much. Fantastic work!

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