A creepy new Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City nightmare trailer was released for the upcoming live-action movie.
After a surprising lack of marketing, the first teaser for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was released only this past month of October. Beyond set photos and vignettes, not much else had been shared by Sony Pictures. With the release of the full trailer so close before the theatrical debut, there is a scarcity of hype behind the movie based on the famous survival horror game franchise.
Read on for the details revealed for the upcoming film and the potential future of the film franchise.
What came before
Resident Evil is one of the most famous and successful video game franchises ever. Since its debut on the Sony Playstation 1 in 1996, Capcom’s Resident Evil (Biohazard in Japan) has become synonymous to the survival horror genre.
The first game established or expanded on the familiar elements associated with these types of games, such as exploration of a claustrophobic environment, jump scares, limited resources, tank controls, puzzle solving, and horrific enemies highlighted by even more challenging boss battles.
Resident Evil has spawned multiple sequels on various platforms, such as the Sony Playstation 2, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube, and many more. With a total of over 117 million video game units sold as of June 2021, it is the most successful horror game franchise on record. It has also expanded to spinoffs in novels, comics, animated and live action films and television series.
The Resident Evil films starring Milla Jovovich and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson are even recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most successful movie series based on a video game, making over $1 billion from 2002 to 2016 over the course of seven films. However, despite its success, fans of the video games have consistently criticized the film series for taking multiple liberties and diverging from the source material, particularly with regard to the main characters and plot.
— Resident Evil (@ResidentEvil) November 4, 2021
Revelations in the new Nightmare trailer
Based on this new nightmare trailer, the film reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, appears to be addressing this long-standing criticism of the previous film series.
Directed by 47 Meters Down’s Johannes Roberts, this new movie will be taking elements from the first two games. The main cast and locations are callbacks to the events that took place in the Spencer Mansion (from the first game) and the Raccoon City Police Department (from Resident Evil 2). There are even direct nods to the scenes from the games such as:
- Setting the film’s events as taking place in September 30, 1998, around the time the first game and its sequels occurred.
- The S.T.A.R.S. team with Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Albert Wesker escaping into the reception hall of the Spencer Mansion.
- The first zombie encountered in the mansion, turning its gaze to the camera.
- The "itchy, scratchy" note, which was a key encounter in the first game, reading from the journal of one of the Spencer Mansion’s residents slowly becoming consumed by the T-Virus and turning into a flesh-eating zombie.
- Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy encountering the undead and monsters in the streets of Raccoon City.
- Umbrella Corporation’s scientist William Birkin experimenting on himself, which led to the outbreak.
One clear difference shown in the trailer comparing the games to the film’s story is the latter presenting a larger role for Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario). Claire debuted in the first game's sequel in search of Chris Redfield, but in the upcoming film, she will have a more active hand in trying to discover the sinister dealings of the Umbrella Corporation, which is more like her role in a later entry, Code: Veronica.
It also appears Albert Wesker will be less of a straight-up super-villain. Tom Hopper (Umbrella Academy) who plays Wesker says they are trying to make him a little more sympathetic in this depiction. In the games and in the prior film series, Albert Wesker is characteristically portrayed as an unapologetic bad guy, hiding his true allegiances from his S.T.A.R.S. team and the RPD.
The trailer also shows more of Lisa Trevor (Marina Mazerpa) and Raccoon City’s chief of police Brian Irons (Donal Logue). It is not clear whether they will be closer to their roles in the game or will have slightly different depictions for the movie.
Aside from the human characters, the new trailer showcases the bio-organic weapons (B.O.W.s) that will be represented in the movie. Other than the standard zombie horde infected by the Umbrella Corporation’s T-Virus, the savage Cerberus (aka zombie dogs) and the Lickers were revealed.
The first of a new film franchise?
While the first film Resident Evil film series was criticized, they were undeniable financial successes. Sony Pictures is banking on catching lightning in a bottle a second time with a more faithful rendition. As director Johannes Roberts states:
I wanted to go back to the horror of it all. I wanted scares and atmosphere rather than full-on action. I think fans of the game felt the same.
If the new film proves to be equal to the task, could this guarantee a sequel? Director Roberts is certainly enthusiastic about it, saying he would like the sequel to be based on Resident Evil 4, with Leon Kennedy serving as the main protagonist in a rescue mission to save the U.S. President’s daughter from a village infected by Las Plagas.
According to Sony's official synopsis for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City:
Once the booming home of pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation, Raccoon City is now a dying Midwestern town. The company's exodus left the city a wasteland... with great evil brewing below the surface. When that evil is unleashed, the townspeople are forever... changed... and a small group of survivors must work together to uncover the truth behind Umbrella and make it through the night.
Produced by Constantin Films and Sony Pictures, based on the Capcom games, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City stars Kaya Scodelario (Claire Redfield), Hannah John-Kamen (Jill Valentine), Robbie Amell (Chris Redfield), Tom Hopper (Albert Wesker), Avan Jogia (Leon Kennedy), Donal Logue (Chief Brian Irons), Neal McDonough (William Birkin), Chad Rook (Richard Aiken), Marina Mazepa (Lisa Trevor), and Lily Gao (Ada Wong).
Written and directed by Johannes Roberts, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City unleashes in theaters on November 24, 2021.