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SYFY WIRE Resident Evil

Resident Evil movie title revealed; director drops new details on Raccoon City ‘origin story’

By Benjamin Bullard
Claire Redfield in Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil’s return to Racoon City on the big screen is only months away, and director Johannes Roberts has finally revealed a proper title for Sony Pictures' new live-action RE romp. It couldn’t come at a better time, either: 2021 is an enormously busy year for Capcom’s storied video game franchise, so having a name to go with the project is a big help for fans scrambling to keep their abundance of RE stories (and games) straight.

Roberts shared the upcoming film’s title as Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, sitting in for a virtual SXSW panel with IGN that also revealed some new details about the movie. Roberts said the film marks a clean break from the hugely successful string of 6 RE movies directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Mila Jovovich, and that it’ll draw heavily from the events of the first two video games to tell a Raccoon City origin story.

“Obviously, there is the Resident Evil [film] franchise and this movie doesn’t have anything to do with that,” Roberts told IGN’s Lucy O’Brien. “It’s a whole separate origin story based in the roots of the [video game series] and the world of horror.”

Getting Raccoon City’s name in the title isn’t arbitrary, either: The infested town has long been a key part of the game series, and Roberts said the new movie aims to elevate the desperate beginnings of its haunted atmosphere to full-fledged movie character status. “It’s an ensemble piece, and Raccoon City plays a big part and is a character in the movie,” he said. “It’s about this group of people all coming from different angles — some coming into town, some already having grown up in this town — meeting over this one fateful night.”

Roberts cited both John Carpenter’s The Fog and Capcom’s own 2019 HD game remake of Resident Evil 2 as inspirations for the horror vibe he’s hoping to capture — which, he added, is a key part of the appeal. Though he gave Anderson’s original RE films a big shoutout, Roberts said he’d been given carte blanche to recreate Raccoon City’s moody nighttime horror in his own unique way.

“The big thing for me on this movie is tone,” he said. “The thing that I loved with the games was they were just scary as hell, and that is very much the atmosphere. It’s raining constantly, it’s dark, it’s creepy… and then mixed with the sort of more fun side, especially with the first game, of what’s ‘round the corner — that kind of style of storytelling.”

Also returning are some of the series’ previously-announced mainstay characters, with Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario), Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), and Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia) — all introduced in the first two games — coming together all at once. Watch for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City to invade theaters beginning Sept. 3.