Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City finally lands later this week. Advance reviews are broadly positive, confirming that fans of the games will appreciate the care that’s gone into recreating characters, locations, and atmosphere. That’s about in line with what I expected: a goofy but occasionally tense B-movie about people being eaten by gross monsters while a guy in sunglasses makes over-the-top villainous monologues.
Director Johannes Roberts has often underlined that he’s a huge fan of the games and that he wanted his movie to pay tribute to them. Now, in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, he says he wants the audience to have a white-knuckle ride through this B.O.W.-infested hell
“I’m a horror guy. I’m a Stephen King guy. I’m a John Carpenter guy. All those things are sort of built into the fabric of this movie. I was just like, ‘Let’s make a scary movie again.'”
Roberts specifically named 1998’s Resident Evil 2 as the key inspiration:
“I remember playing that second game and going, ‘This is the movie. This is it. It just blew me away completely. The aesthetics of it, the tone, the mood. I was like, ‘This is the cornerstone of what we’re going to do.'”
But the world and lore of Resident Evil go way beyond the Raccoon City incident depicted in the first three games. In the 25 years since we first burst through the doors of the Spencer Mansion, the franchise has taken us to Antarctica, rural Spain, an insanely creepy house in Louisiana, and, most recently, a very weird Eastern European village. Roberts hints that his movie is going to be a springboard for the rest of the story:
“I think [Welcome to Raccoon City] sets everything up really well, an origin story for each of our characters. I think it would be really important to me that we don’t just use this as a springboard to then just go off into our own crazy world. I think there’s so much in the games that is so fascinating and exciting that I would really love to continue to explore that.”
We’ll find out in a few days whether he succeeded, as Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City crawls its way into theaters on November 24th.