There appears to be a rule in Hollywood that whenever an installment of a long-running movie franchise calls itself the “final” entry, that the franchise will definitely return. In the case of director Paul W.S. Anderson’s video game adaptation series Resident Evil, it was 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that laid the groundwork for the inevitable announcement that a reboot was on the way. This was way, waaaaay back in the Before Times of 2018, but the still-untitled production is now actually less than a year away.
That was revealed by Sony Pictures via press release as the studio dated the Resident Evil reboot for the surprisingly near slot of 3 September 2021. According to Sony, this will be a theatrical release, but based on the current state of the movie industry thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t be surprised if the film gets shopped to a streaming service as well. Production has been underway since October 2020 under COVID protocols so this one should definitely be able to hit that date though.
We also get a blurb of sorts with this announcement saying that “The story takes place on a fateful night in Raccoon City in 1998”. That should grab the attention of any fans of Capcom’s Resident Evil video game series as the very first game released in 1996 was set in 1998 inside a mansion in Raccoon City as a viral outbreak leads to a monstrous zombie apocalypse. The blurb also goes on to say that this movie will be “the official origin story of the Resident Evil world.”
This part is a bit more confusing to me – is this a proper reboot, ditching the world of Milla Jovovich’s Alice – a character created specifically for the movies – or will this actually be some kind of retconned prequel to all the existing movies? Despite the ambiguous wording, I’m more inclined to lean towards the former. For one, we know that Jovovich won’t be back. Second, all prior insider reports indicate that one of main driving factor of this reboot is to get a movie adaptation far more faithful to the source material instead of all the deviations Anderson took.
To that end, the reboot’s cast is already on point as it was confirmed in December that Kaya Scodelario and Robbie Amell are starring as Claire and Chris Redfield, stars of the original games (played in a few of the previous movies by Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller, respectively). Joining them will be Hannah John-Kamen as Jill Valentine, Tom Hopper as Albert Wesker, Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy, Donal Logue as Chief Brian Irons, and Neal McDonough as William Birkin. All of these characters were pulled straight out of the games, so fans hoping for a more accurate take should already be happy.
Writing and directing this whole affair is British filmmaker Johannes Roberts. He is most famous for helming 2017 shark thriller 47 Meters Down and its sequel, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, as well as 2018 horror The Strangers: Prey at Night.
None of these are what you might call great movies, but they all do boast some very effective tension and jump scares which is Resident Evil’s bread and butter. Lean more into that instead of the cheesy slow-mo action antics we got from Anderson and Jovovich and it should appeal to fans.
Last Updated: February 5, 2021