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Critics say 'Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City' is faithful to the games, but lacks that killer bite

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City opens in theaters Wednesday, Nov. 24.

By Josh Weiss

Is Sony's reboot of the Resident Evil franchise on the big screen worth it? According to critics, Welcome to Raccoon City (out in theaters tomorrow) can be a delight for fans of the first two games and slog for viewers with no knowledge of the Capcom series.

Writer-director Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) reportedly packs the brisk 1 hour and 47 minute runtime with enough Easter eggs and callbacks to choke an Umbrella Corp.-created zombie. The only problem, according to some critics, is that the filmmaker sometimes neglected to carry over any of the scares or tension that made the games so iconic. At the end of the day, however, there is no questioning the film's faithfulness to the source material — something that was pretty much ignored by the Milla Jovovich/Paul W.S. Anderson series of movies that brought in over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

As of this writing, Welcome to Raccoon City holds a 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Set over a single bloody night in 1998, Welcome to Raccoon City co-stars Kaya Scodelario (Claire Redfield) and Robbie Amell (Chris Redfield), Neal McDonough (William Birkin), Hannah John-Kamen (Jill Valentine), Avan Jogia (Leon Kennedy), Tom Hopper (Albert Wesker), and Donal Logue (Chief Irons).

Head below to see what critics are saying...

"Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City improves in many ways from the Paul W.S. Anderson films by giving viewers the information they need upfront. Instead of relying on characters like Alice, we see those involved deal with their situation and the different ways they handle conflict, which grounds the film in realism. The cast is solid, with the female characters being the most intelligent, competent, and heroic of the story." -Valerie Complex, Deadline

"While long-time fans will adore the faithfulness to the games, this approach has its own flaws that lead to the new movie lacking bite. You might recognize the locations and characters, yet you'll experience none of the terror of playing the games ... Once you get over the initial thrill of seeing the games so vividly brought to life, you'll also realise that there's a point when being too loyal to the games comes at the detriment of the movie. Namely, it's just nowhere near as terrifying as the experience of playing those games and lacks any tension." -Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

"Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, has been given the gift of extremely low expectations. It’s the first watchable entry in the series. For once, you don’t envy the lucky people who get killed by zombies ... The film is empty-headed good fun that’s blessedly under two hours and has just enough character development to make you kind of care when someone gets bitten." -Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post

"Taking the Resident Evil games and mythos seriously is clearly a major consideration for Welcome To Raccoon City. This is a movie that adapts not one but two games in the franchise — Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 — and is littered with callbacks and references to both ...  It's an adaptation that will have Resident Evil fans pointing at the screen, Leonardo DiCaprio meme-style, as they recognize Easter egg after Easter egg from the game series." -Phil Hornshaw, GameSpot

"Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City [is] a reboot that does away with its signature leading lady and aims for a more faithful adaptation of its interactive source material. That tack proves to be a complete misfire, as writer-director Johannes Roberts supplies plenty of fan service but scarce coherent plotting and even fewer scares. Throw in chintzy CGI effects, and the theatrical prognosis for this undead saga appears dire." -Nick Schager, Variety

"Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City may reward longtime fans of the video games by returning to the series’ origins, but others will find themselves wanting to leave town, much like the movie’s characters ... The movie never successfully replicates the fear that was a hallmark of playing the video games, and its approach to ample gore is only as imaginative as a kid picking at a scab." -Kimber Myers, The Los Angeles Times

"Director Johannes Roberts does deserve some credit for sticking much more closely to the source material than the Paul W.S. Anderson films, but a short runtime, a rushed third act, and lack of elements to make it truly scary to watch in the dark hold it back immensely. Nevertheless, it should serve as decent fun for fans of the Resident Evil games, if only to find all the Easter eggs and references scattered throughout." -Taylor Lyles, IGN

"There’s no covert greatness to the just-plain-underwhelming Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City, a reboot totally bereft of the visual distinction or creative personality that often made its predecessors intriguing diamonds in the rough." -Charles Bramesco, The A.V. Club

Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow — Wednesday, Nov. 24.