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Don’t look now … it’s another video game reboot

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RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY
Written and directed by Johannes Roberts
107 minutes, rated MA
General release
★★½

Some worry that Hollywood is running out of ideas. But surely there’s little cause for concern just yet, with all those video game adaptations from the turn of the millennium waiting to be rebooted.

As overseer of the previous cycle of Resident Evil films, Paul W.S. Anderson nudged the material towards action-fantasy, the better to showcase the gifts of his muse Milla Jovovich. His successor Johannes Roberts opts for retro horror, taking us back to the 1990s, when the first Resident Evil game was launched in Japan.

Robbie Amell and Kaya Scodelario in Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City.Credit:Shane Mahood

On a dark and rainy night in 1998, all kinds of mayhem are afoot in the decaying Midwestern town of the title – the former home of the multinational Umbrella Corporation, and also of the heroine Claire (Kaya Scodelario), who has picked a singularly unfortunate moment to return.

Umbrella has always been an emblem of the evil of Big Pharma – but for good measure, Roberts throws in some parallels with the woes of the real-life company town, Flint, Michigan, following the departure of General Motors.

But these hints of social commentary are only hints. More significantly, the film is a full-scale tribute to the legendary John Carpenter, whose no-fat genre classics such as The Thing and Prince of Darkness have inspired so many younger talents, including Anderson in a slightly different way.

As in much of Carpenter’s work, the main game is the exploration of shadowy enclosed spaces – here including the orphanage where Claire and her brother Chris (Robbie Amell) grew up, the police station where Chris now works, and the mansion of Umbrella’s enigmatic co-founder.

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Thanks to a bizarre virus spreading across the town, there are zombies and mutants lurking round more corners than not. But this doesn’t stop the characters from splitting up and taking different paths through the maze as if they’d never seen a horror movie (certainly not one by Roberts, whose undersea 47 Meters Down films envisage comparable labyrinths patrolled by great white sharks).


RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY
Written and directed by Johannes Roberts
107 minutes, rated MA
General release
★★½

Some worry that Hollywood is running out of ideas. But surely there’s little cause for concern just yet, with all those video game adaptations from the turn of the millennium waiting to be rebooted.

As overseer of the previous cycle of Resident Evil films, Paul W.S. Anderson nudged the material towards action-fantasy, the better to showcase the gifts of his muse Milla Jovovich. His successor Johannes Roberts opts for retro horror, taking us back to the 1990s, when the first Resident Evil game was launched in Japan.

Robbie Amell and Kaya Scodelario in Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City.

Robbie Amell and Kaya Scodelario in Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City.Credit:Shane Mahood

On a dark and rainy night in 1998, all kinds of mayhem are afoot in the decaying Midwestern town of the title – the former home of the multinational Umbrella Corporation, and also of the heroine Claire (Kaya Scodelario), who has picked a singularly unfortunate moment to return.

Umbrella has always been an emblem of the evil of Big Pharma – but for good measure, Roberts throws in some parallels with the woes of the real-life company town, Flint, Michigan, following the departure of General Motors.

But these hints of social commentary are only hints. More significantly, the film is a full-scale tribute to the legendary John Carpenter, whose no-fat genre classics such as The Thing and Prince of Darkness have inspired so many younger talents, including Anderson in a slightly different way.

As in much of Carpenter’s work, the main game is the exploration of shadowy enclosed spaces – here including the orphanage where Claire and her brother Chris (Robbie Amell) grew up, the police station where Chris now works, and the mansion of Umbrella’s enigmatic co-founder.

Loading

Thanks to a bizarre virus spreading across the town, there are zombies and mutants lurking round more corners than not. But this doesn’t stop the characters from splitting up and taking different paths through the maze as if they’d never seen a horror movie (certainly not one by Roberts, whose undersea 47 Meters Down films envisage comparable labyrinths patrolled by great white sharks).

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