The original Resident Evil games are remembered as horror icons in gaming, and rightly so; their riffs on zombie tropes have created a franchise that has since exploded into one of the biggest names in the industry. That means it’s easy to forget that those classics have more than a little bit of cheesy charm to them, something this latest film adaptation looks like it’s taking to heart.
Sony has released the first trailer for Johannes Roberts’s cinematic reboot of the Resident Evil saga, Welcome to Raccoon City. If the name alone wasn’t enough of a reminder that Roberts fully intends to eschew what the Paul W.S. Anderson Resident Evil movies did in transforming the game series’ lore, then this trailer should serve very much as a reminder about his intent that this apes the original games as much as possible.
Smashing together the premises of Resident Evil 1 and 2 into a single movie — the elite special forces team STARS investigating the Spencer Mansion in a quest to uncover the work of the sinister biotech conglomerate Umbrella, and Umbrella’s unleashing of its zombiefying T-Virus on the denizens of Raccoon City — our first look at Welcome to Raccoon City in motion definitely delivers on Roberts’ repeated desires to bring the classic games to the big screen as they were envisioned generations ago, rather than something entirely new. There’s a veritable guts-and-gore smorgasbord of game references here, from classic characters like Jill and Chris Redfield (Kaya Scodelario and Robbie Amell), Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia) having the worst first day as a rookie cop on the job, and even the sinister Resident Evil villain Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper). But it’s not just characters, there’s entire moments and sequences lifted from Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 here, from the assault on an oddly incredibly gothic Raccoon City Police Department, to encounters with decaying zombie pooches, that iconic first reveal of a zombie in the original game, and yes, even a little “itchy tasty” for good measure.
It’s more than a little schlocky, and maybe just the oddball choice of 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up” to soundtrack the trailer amplifies that a little, but Welcome to Raccoon City seems like it wants to embrace that schlocky side of the classic games as much as it wants to homage specific moments from them.
We’ll see how well it works when the movie releases in Australian cinemas on November 25.