Is it that difficult to get a Resident Evil film right?

With the eerie source material from the iconic Capcom video game franchise oozing through its pores, you’d think there should be enough to work with to muster up a competent horror.

Nah. This is no better than the Silent Hill video game-to-movie release misfire back in 2006. And even though the Milla Jovovich-headlining series before it took the (severely off-piste) action route – and was pretty much critically-derided – even that was comfortably better than this.

Sadly, keeping Paul WS Anderson – the director of the previous six (steadily declining from a very low bar) iterations – in an executive producer capacity instead of wiping the slate clean, was a backwards move in the first place.

It seems to initially have the ingredients in place to provide a gritty origins story, with all the characters from franchise lore appearing among the dark and broody setting of Raccoon City.

This enclosed location is being evacuated with the city’s main employer, the Umbrella Corporation, closing down operations, and only a small gathering of townsfolk and the police – including Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper) and Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen from acclaimed TV series The Stranger) – staying behind to make sure law is upheld.

But all is not what it seems, with whatever experimental corporate ‘shenanigans’ that Umbrella were up too leaking into the town’s water supplies (but conveniently not to any of the police force members homes), causing them to eventually mutate into zombie-like creatures, who are about to overrun the streets. And a mansion. And a closed orphanage.

Unfortunately, Chris’ estranged sister Claire (Kaya Scodelario from The Maze Runner series and Alligator-thriller Crawl) has decided to turn up the exact night that Umbrella look to wipe the city from the face of the earth before ‘questions are asked’. Cue predictable sibling rivalry side-story number one. And she ends up helping rookie cop Leon (Avan Jogia), who has been left in the police station by himself with the ‘undead’ teaming outside. Cue shoe-horned in side-story number two.

Even though for fanboys, some of the legendary locales have been used here – it’s never utilised anywhere near to its full creepy potential.

All the characters are littered with Hallmark TV movie-esque clunky dialogue as it turns into a mixture of horror – though there aren’t anywhere near enough scares – and an intermittently gun-toting actioner (think 2005’s Doom), that doesn’t deliver with either. Just a cluster of aimless bullet-riddled headshot scenes.

Even the special effects are bordering on laughable – cue ‘end boss’ as prime example – and looks more akin to technology to when the film was set. 1998. Hearing 4 Non Blondes in a nostalgic throwback was probably the best part of the film.

Helmer Johannes Roberts had cut his directing teeth (literally) impressively with his shark-fest 47 Metres Down – but after this he’s probably best sticking with water-based projects.

Because this is sadly a scandalously cringeworthy effort to finally get a worthwhile Resident Evil ‘scarefest’ off the ground – that fails in every which way to capitalise on everything that made the video game series so beloved.

Putting the word ‘raccoon’ in the movie title doesn’t help . . .

ESP Rating: 1/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Hannah John-Kamen, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Neal Mcdonough & Donal Logue

Running Time: 1 Hr 47 Mins

Director: Johannes Roberts

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux