It is a well-known fact of cinema that adapting video games seldom leads to anything worth watching. I challenge you to think of at least three examples of a successful adaptation. I’ll give you a minute. …Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well, it may surprise you to know that the latest Resident Evil film – Welcome to Raccoon City – could be one of your three.
Rather than continuing the narrative established in the Milla Jovovich-fronted series, this reboot adapts the first two games in the acclaimed survival-horror series in an action-packed zombie romp packed with genuine scares, thrilling set-pieces and familiar characters from some of gaming’s finest moments. The story cleverly combines elements from both games while adding new characters and subplots, telling a timely and compelling tale of corruption and conspiracy – with added zombies, of course.
Bringing the world of Resident Evil to life like previous films never could, Welcome to Raccoon City drops us into locations fans know and love – the police station from Resident Evil 2 and Spencer Mansion from the original franchise-launching classic – immaculately recreated thanks to the superfans who put the film together, lead by director Johannes Roberts. A charming bonus feature on the home entertainment release discusses the immense efforts that went into faithfully recreating the look and feel of Resident Evil’s world, and it is certainly felt throughout. More than the usual cash-grab adaptation, this is made with real passion – and the film benefits from that considerably. With easter eggs scattered throughout from costumes to props and sound effects to locations, there’s a hell of a lot here to spot for eagle-eyed fans.
Welcome to Raccoon City isn’t perfect – some of the CGI is pretty dire, and plot holes are not exactly difficult to find. But the film ultimately feels like good old-fashioned entertainment more than anything else. Capturing the real thrills of the games while telling a genuinely engrossing story with interesting characters, the film was one of the biggest surprises of 2021. With thrillingly realised action sequences and genuine scares, Welcome to Raccoon CIty is one of the best game-to-film adaptations in years.