Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Review: A nostalgic ride to 90s horror that will appeal to OG game fans

Updated on Dec 03, 2021 10:12 PM IST  |  285.5K
   
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City review
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City releases in theatres on December 3.
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Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Director: Johannes Roberts 

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Stars: 2.5/5

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City 1

It takes a fan, like Johannes Roberts to rebuild a franchise that seems long lost after six films and to bring it back to its roots which is what happens with Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. The film goes back to the 90s era with beepers and Discmans and the idea that a horror film needs less meaningful dialogue than jump scares. Robert's Resident Evil reboot is a faithful adaptation of the first two video games, particularly the second one where the lead characters are the familiar Redfield siblings who find themselves in ground zero of the ghost town that will soon turn into a zombie apocalypse. 

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City bases itself in the rotten and forgotten town, Racoon City which is mocked upon by a truck driver who enters the eerie place to drop off Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario). Redfield is visiting back home to warn her brother Chris (Robbie Amell) of the evils of Umbrella Corporation, the pharmaceutical company that has been responsible for bringing the town to its ravaged state. The film also introduces us to the OG game characters of Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper), Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), and Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia) along with the Redfield siblings. Much like the games, the movie's survival action takes place in two main places including the Spencer Mansion and the Raccoon City Police department. The characters are faced with a night of horror as they try to escape a city that has its residents turned into flesh-eating zombies. Will anyone be able to escape Raccoon City is what is left to see. 

Resident Evil 2

For those who have played the Resident Evil video games, the film will undoubtedly feel like a nostalgic ride and the production design of elements such as the locations of Spencer Mansion and the Police department will certainly take them back. In comparison to the rest of the franchise, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City undoubtedly finds itself getting back to its horror roots in the most 90s way it can. From the font that is used to depict the time as the series of unfortunate events unfold overnight to the use of songs during crucial scenes, there's enough that Johannes does to make it seem like an authentic survival thriller from the good old days. 

A key element for any survival thriller is to have a steady buildup and in that department, Roberts' film manages to keep a good pace with a well-timed movement between switching from gory action sequences to moving into key flashback sequences that hold important clues to shape the story ahead. While the focus of the tale remains of Claire and Chris Redfield's characters and their childhood in the Umbrella orphanage, it's Leon. S. Kennedy whose character takes away the cake with some epic scenes and makes you wish his character was more in focus.

While sticking to some traditional ways of adding jump scares to get the viewer spooked, Roberts' film also goes overboard when it comes to putting dolls and clowns and other creepy-looking toys in your face with unnecessary close-ups. One of the film's best scenes remains the one where Leon (Avan) is seen napping at the Police Department desk while being plugged into a Discman and a speeding tanker explodes right outside the station, jetting off a zombie who's lit like a flaming torch walking towards an unaware Kennedy. As for the rest of the film, while there's enough suspense, the trickery of bringing in the scares isn't all that novel, particularly in terms of background score that seems overdone.  Also, for a spoiler-free review, I'm not even going to delve into the ugly antagonist of the film. 

Unlike Milla Jovovich's kickass Alice in the rest of the Resident Evil franchise, Kaya Scodelario seems slightly stoic. In a film like this one, there seems little for actors to explore in terms of performances and hence there's nothing particularly impressive in their shell-shocked expressions.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Robbie Amell reveals what OG fans will love about Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

In one of his media interactions, director Johannes Roberts mentioned that he wanted to scare the s**t out of people who head for this film. Having watched it in a fairly empty theatre though, I wouldn't say that promise has been fulfilled by Roberts. There's no denying that there are moments or two where you will find your heart racing as the zombies come at you in close-ups on the jet black screen but overall it isn't something that will give you nightmares. 

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, all in all, feels like a nostalgic affair that will appeal to two fan bases, one of the OG video games and the second of horror-survival genre and their 90s films. Roberts' film gives a nod to both these elements, thus promising it to be an ultimate fan fest for those with a liking for gory, blood-spewing, zombie horror. 

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