With the minor fanfare surrounding the release of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which might as well have been a bullet to the rotting head of a film franchise, the slate is now clean to move on. But where do prospective Resident Evil films go from here?
It’s no secret the hit and miss Resident Evil film franchise spawned by Paul W.S. Anderson was ridden with flaws. Despite taking a different story to the games, somebody (probably Capcom) thought it was a great idea to mash in hollow versions of beloved characters into proceedings for no reason. It was one of the achingly poor choices that acted as a deadlier plague than the T-Virus. Now it has all thankfully came to an end, but because of the cash cow potential that a Resident Evil film presents it will undoubtedly return from the dead to wreak havoc at the box office. So the question is what do they do next? The answer…return to its roots.
It’s a term that will forever be synonymous with the games, the very fabric of what made them scary. The films traded fear for actions, it may have taken them in a different direction but what is a horror if it isn’t scary? There was little in the film series that was even remotely survivalist, so it is time to change that. Strip back endless ammo and the ability to not have to reload for 90 minutes and take away untouchable characters. Replace them with a tooth and nail fight for survival, get gnarly or die. If a film can harness this aspect of survival horror it will give them a great start to what could be a proper horror film.
A Faithful Adaptation of Resident Evil
Paul W.S. Anderson didn’t want to recreate the game in film form (do they ever?) and went his own way into bigger budgets and silly special effects. However the first game has low budget horror written all over it, and what is more seductive to the ears of investors than low risk/high reward?
The first Resident Evil game takes place in a mansion in the middle of nowhere, introducing characters who would go on to be series staples. It’s claustrophobic, tense, and perfect at utilising the less is more approach. In the hands of the right director a faithful adaptation of the first or second game sets up a film franchise to take a go at numerous adaptations of any of the games. If Marvel has taught us anything, adaptations close to source material make for better movies. Considering the games are littered with spin offs, it’s perfect material to mine.
Adapt Resident Evil 7
Since the release of the first Resident Evil game, and film, the zombie genre has become one of the shambling occupants it has so rigorously portrayed; slow, tired, and decaying. Any new entry into the zombie genre needs to do something new, or refine the material to make it scary. This is a tough task for even the most accomplished filmmaker, saying as zombies haven’t been scary since the eighties. So instead of could adapt the most recent video game in the series, Resident Evil 7.
For those who haven’t played the game, it’s the first genuinely scary Resident Evil release since the first two games, and it doesn’t deal with your typical monsters. A frightening example of survival horror at its finest with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe, Resident Evil 7 appears perfect for a new film and to separate it from the misdemeanours of the current cinematic siblings. Snooty Usher Rich loved the game so much he fan cast it, and I’d pay to see that.
Resident Evil – The Series
The TV revolution started a while ago, and I believe we are past it’s most recent peak. Despite the dipping quality as studios try to adapt every film under the sun into a TV show (Rush Hour? Lethal Weapon? Give over), the format remains as potent as ever for building worlds and stories. Though the scale of Anderson’s RE films were big, they became too big by going post apocalyptic. The games stories have fluctuated in scale to fit their stories needs. Where Resident Evil was a small scale horror, Resident Evil 2 was a city wide fight for survival which was then repeated in Resident Evil 3. That alone provides the background for a number of stories to take place in Raccoon City before or during the infection. But that isn’t all.
The numerous series spin offs from the numbered entries in the games also provide setups and backdrops perfect to serialise. They could even take a leaf out of the book of American Horror Story and have each season or two adapt a different game. Resident Evil: Outbreak and Resident Evil: Code Veronica both spring to mind for this treatment.
Uroboros & Las Plagas
Much like Resident Evil 7 is a great opportunity to avoid the use of zombies, both Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 tackle a different kind of enemy, a mind controlling parasite. The introduction of this enemy into the games revitalised the series, and helped RE4 go on to become one of the most popular games.
Admittedly the visual use of these horrible enemies was poorly forced into the later films of the franchise by Anderson. Essentially presented as evolved zombies, they completely missed the point of what made these things so terrifying to fight. No matter what path future films/TV series make, the correct and proper portrayal of Urosboros and Las Plagas makes for interesting story telling.
So what do you think should be done next with the Resident Evil games? Another film, a TV show, or do nothing at all? We’d love to know what you think.
P.S. Capcom, if you’re reading this…hit me up I got ideas 🙂