I may have to whisper this quietly to retain my film critic credibility, but I actually quite enjoyed the resident Evil film series.
With a couple of exceptions, the six-movie franchise were guilty pleasures I could stick in the DVD player, turn my brain off and enjoy.
However, I obviously realize there is a lot of room for improvement, which led to some excitement for reboot Welcome to Raccoon City .
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This fresh take on the origin of the virus that mutates humans into zombies and other, even more monstrous, creations is apparently much more in line with the video games – although, as a non-gamer, that means nothing to me.
English director Johannes Roberts ( The Strangers: Prey at Night, 47 Meters Down ) has a decent track record in horror and this definitely amplifies terror over the sci-fi-led action preferred by the other resident Evil outings.
The predominantly night time setting and tight locations embody the titular city with tension and there are a few creepy needle drop musical moments.
The film is severely lacking in star power, though. This may make who, if anyone, makes it to the end less clear but results in the acting being solid-but-unspectacular across the board.
Kaya Scodelario’s claire is far removed from Milla Jovovich’s earlier franchise flag-bearer Alice but her grounded approach works well in the taut atmosphere.
Others like Hannah John-Kamen ( Jill ) and Tom Hopper ( Wesker ) don’t really stand out, while Avan Jogia’s Lion is fairly feeble and Neal McDonough’s weak William is the closest we get to an out-and-out villain.
Some of the monstrous antagonists, like the zombie dogs, were done better in the previous movies but others, especially those constructed using practical effects, are sinisterly spot on.
I also enjoyed the race against the clock element introduced and Roberts develops a real fear that danger lurks behind every corner, door and car seat.
Welcome to Raccoon City is still a long way off perfect but it’s as good a resident Evil flick that has stirred to chomp on our cinematic brains thus far.
● What are your thoughts on Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City? How does it compare to the previous Resident Evil films?
Pop me an email at [email protected] and I will pass on your comments to your fellow readers.
● Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is available on DVD on Monday.
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