While my disdain for the Resident Evil film franchise is not quite as vehement as some gamers, it’s no secret that the series hardly adhered to its source material. Only the first and second films echoed any resemblance to the video games and only very loosely. 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was meant to be… Well, the final chapter. Director, Paul W.S. Anderson and his wife/star of the franchise, Milla Jovovich, have chosen to walk away from Resident Evil (for now) and now is the perfect time to reboot the franchise.
Looking back at the first movie, it was a very action heavy, science fiction oriented experience. While there are cool scenes like the laser hallway, it fails to capture the unnerving quiet of a survival horror game. The original game was much more of a haunted house with its sci-fi components gradually surfacing from the fog of mystery. The biggest sci-fi elements are relegated to the end of the game when the scope of what the Umbrella Corporation has done can be fully appreciated, much like a mosaic once every piece has found its rightful place.
What made Resident Evil a household name was not bloated, high octane action sequences, it was the dread. I still remember the terror of not knowing what was awaiting me on the other side of the door. Sound design was another huge part of this. While there was often an eerie ethereal quality to the music, sometimes there would be stretches of hallway where you couldn’t hear a thing or courtyards filled by the lamentations of the night, the calm before the storm.
Resident Evil 4
If Hollywood doesn’t want to go full horror(I don’t know why they wouldn’t with horror movies currently raking in the dough), the plot of Resident Evil 4 would make an excellent point to renew the franchise. It still ranks as one of my favorite video games of all time. Personally, I believe this game to be the perfect blend of action and horror, something the film franchise has always lacked.
The fourth game was also when Resident Evil made a jump from the traditional T-Virus zombie fodder to the more intelligent and sometimes deadlier Plaga victims. While the movies have plucked monsters reminiscint of plaga creatures, they forgo the context and lose some of their scariness. This gives the franchise an opportunity to inject an element of freshness by introducing a new element of the lore. There is also the added benefit of being able to introduce some of the video game’s coolest monsters such as the blind, clawed beasts known as Garradors, the insect-like Verdugo, or El Gigante.
Even if its decided to go with a script that is not based on any of the games, I would just like to see a movie that more readily captures the terror that the name Resident Evil should instill.