Resident Evil fans are going to have an amazing year. 2021 marks the franchise’s 25th anniversary and to celebrate we’re getting Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil RE: Verse, two new Netflix TV shows and a movie reboot by 47 Meters Down director Johannes Roberts. We recently learned the film will be titled Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City and set photos indicate that it’ll stick much closer to the games than the bizarre but entertaining Paul W.S. Anderson efforts.
The movie will combine the stories of the first two PlayStation outings. For those unaware, 1996’s Resident Evil takes us inside the sinister Spencer Mansion as S.TA.R.S. team members Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine struggle for survival, while 1998’s Resident Evil 2 is situated in the nearby city that’s being overrun by zombies and other monsters. These stories are set within months of one another, but the movie will presumably condense events so they’re happening in parallel.
But how faithful will the retelling be? Well, star Tom Hopper, who’ll play Albert Wesker, revealed in an interview that fans of the games won’t be disappointed, saying:
“I think from an aesthetic point of view, I think the games really influence this well. It is an aesthetic that, certainly when we were shooting it, that I was like, ‘Man, it feels like the game.’ I’m really hoping that fans of the game take something nice away from it, that it’s the game plus more.”
So, how did the director get the actors to understand what Resident Evil is all about? In a reveal that should put a smile on your face, he told his cast to play the games for themselves, as Hopper explained.
“[He said] ‘The one thing I want you to do is to get into the game, start playing the game.’ I was like, ‘This is the best research I’ve ever done for a movie. This is the best, I just get to go and play a game.’ I got the old PlayStation out, and got the game, and started playing it. Tell you what, I pooed my pants at least once. It’s incredibly scary […] we’ve tried to do that in the movie, I think we’ve tried to give the audience that feel, that it feels like a horror that you’re in, that you’re involved in.”
I’ve been doing a series playthrough in advance of Village (just beat Resident Evil Zero) and though the graphics and voice acting have aged, the original PlayStation games definitely provide some thrills and boast a very unnerving atmosphere. So, if the movie can bottle that magic, we’re in for a winner.
It’s also worth pointing out that if you want to get the classic PlayStation titles, now’s the time. Sony has just announced that they’re shuttering their PS3, PSP and Vita stores over the summer and they’re currently the only place you can digitally purchase Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. They’re available as part of the ‘Classics’ line and cost just a few dollars each. If you buy them now, you’ll still be able to download them even after the store closes, so if you’ve got an older Sony console, my advice is to load it up soon in case you ever want to check them out.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City will hit theaters on September 3rd, 2021.