Following the cancelation of the Netflix show and underperformance of 2021 movie reboot, where should the Resident Evil film franchise go next? The original Resident Evil video game started life as a remake of a cult 1989 title called Sweet Home, which popularized many of the mechanics that would form the survival horror genre. Resident Evil was an unexpected smash hit and became a beloved series that’s still running to this day.
The Resident Evil series has gone in many directions since then; it became more action-focused following the fourth game, before moving back to survival horror and its had spin-offs like multiplayer titles or arcade-style shooters. When it came time to adapt the games for the 2002 movie, director Paul W.S. Anderson made the odd creative decision to ignore the characters and settings of the games and invent a new one revolving around Milla Jovovich’s Alice. The film and its sequels had little in common with their gaming counterparts, but while this angered many followers, they were also wildly profitable.
In total, the Jovovich era grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide. This created something of an identity crisis for the brand; the films were successful with mainstream audiences who never played the games, while those who played the series tended to dislike them. 2021 movie reboot Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City tried to course correct by adapting the first two games, but in doing so, created a muddled storyline with far too many characters and subplots to track. It was a financial disappointment that barely garnered better reviews than the previous films, while Netflix’s Resident Evil TV series again largely focused on its own storyline and while it initially performed well, bad reviews saw it canceled. After two failed live-action Resident Evil outings, should the movie series focus on action again or go back to the horror tone of the games?
The Resident Evil Movie Series Needs A Fresh Start
While Jovovich has stated she’s open to reprising Alice for a future Resident Evil, her husband and creative partner Anderson has no intention of returning. That version of the series is likely over, though the studio could opt to reboot it with a new actor playing Alice. Regardless of how followers of the games personally felt about those films, the fact they were so successful is the metric producers will be consider first and foremost when it comes to reviving the series.
Welcome To Raccoon City – which cut out Barry and Rebecca – may have failed overall, but that’s not to say a horror approach should be completely ruled out. The horror genre has mounted a major comeback in recent years, and an outing that tries to appease audiences familiar with the Jovovich films and fans of the games wouldn’t be the worst direction to try. They may already have the best option with Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, the 2017 title that returned to the horror roots of the games.
This found its protagonist stranded in a plantation in Louisiana, looking for his missing wife whilst dodging his mutant in-laws. A live-action version of the game was being developed by writer Greg Russo (Mortal Kombat) before being scrapped due to concerns over how the game itself would perform. The game, of course, eventually became a success, as did its sequel Village in 2021. Those two Resident Evil game outings revived interest in the series in a big way – including introducing instant icon Lady Dimitrescu – so producers could easily dust off that draft and deliver a film that bridges the gap between the property’s fanbases.