Gamers will recognize Raccoon City as the name of the once prosperous home base of pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corp. That we’re talking about it on this page can only mean one thing, a new “Resident Evil” movie. The seventh film in the series, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” now playing in theatres, reboots the videogame-inspired franchise, taking the story back to the beginning.
Raccoon City once thrived. A company town, from the 1960s to the late 90s the Midwestern city grew and prospered as pharmaceutical giant Umbrella set up shop there, and invested heavily in infrastructure and the townsfolk, who made up the bulk of their employees.
Everything changed in 1998 when a genetically-altered organism named Queen Leech attacked the facility, kicking off a series of events that left the city a desolate wasteland with a zombie problem.
It’s into this world director Johannes Roberts drops college student Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) and rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia) on one terrifying night in Raccoon City. Claire has come to the dying city to locate her brother Chris (Robbie Amell). The T-virus, Umbrella’s top-secret biological weapon isn’t much of a secret anymore, and the infected residents of Raccoon City are now terrifying zombies. Over the course of one night Claire, Chris, and others from the video game series like Leon (Avan Jogia), Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Umbrella Academy’s Tom Hopper), fight to survive.
Adapted from the first and second “Resident Evil” games by Capcom, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” returns the series to its video game roots. The previous films emphasized action over horror. This time around Roberts reverts to scary vibe of the videogames, paying homage to both the games and vintage John Carpenter for the atmosphere of dread that builds throughout. Stylistically, as a videogame tribute, that approach works quite well.
As a movie, however, it comes up lacking. Despite some good gooey and gory zombie action and some fun action scenes, it takes too long to get where it is going. While we wait for the going to get good, we’re subjected to dialogue straight out of the Handbook of Horror Clichés and too much exposition.
The opening feels long winded and the ending rushed, but, especially for gamers looking for Easter Eggs, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” has enough moments in between to satisfy fans of the series.