So after months of waiting we finally have our first trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, an all-new reboot of the Resident Evil film franchise, and “hyped” is not a strong enough word for what I’m feeling. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since we first started seeing set photos late last year, which showed off astonishing attention to detail, and I’m overjoyed to see that detail has permeated every inch of this film based on the trailer. As has become customary with new Resident Evil trailers, I’ve gone through these with a fine-toothed comb to find every last detail and easter egg possible. There are actually two trailers as well, a US trailer and an EU trailer (which each feature a ton of footage the other doesn’t) so I’ll be covering both. Trust me, there is a lot that’s possible to miss in both trailers, and a lot of details that might not be obvious at first as well.
To start off with, right off the bat we have a recreation of Resident Evil 2 Remake‘s tanker truck, and the zed the driver absolutely splatters. The truck is pretty much 100% faithful to the game, which I commented on months ago. Unlike the game, Claire has hitched a ride with him on her way into the city, and they have a conversation about the state of Raccoon — namely, that it sucks. They pass by the iconic Welcome to Raccoon City sign, however, it now sports a “Fuck Umbrella!” tag (the fuck is censored for the sake of the trailer, but the full sign was shown off on Twitter yesterday). We also see that the film is set on September 30th, which (in the game universe) places it between RE2 and the ending of RE3, so that’s actually kind of a cool way of literally representing the middle-ground here.
Anyway, the zombie gets sent flying, and the pair (and the driver’s dog) get out to investigate.
Claire is also shown to be driving through the city on her motorcycle, which she seems to pick up from Chris’s house after her visit goes south. The biggest difference here is the helmet, which has gone from a white half helmet to a white full-face helmet.
Following this we get some shots of the Umbrella Security Service overlooking the city, possibly attempting clean-up. It’s impossible to know if the character featured is meant to be HUNK, but it makes sense.
Next we get a wide shot of Raccoon City itself. Unlike the remakes (where the city is portrayed as a small metropolis), Raccoon has been scaled back to something closer to its original game origins — a small town surrounded by forested mountains, with residential and business sections and only a few tall buildings. The R.P.D. can also be seen, which is using the REmake 2 design to a T. Interestingly, this angle is vaguely reminiscent of a piece of Operation Raccoon City concept artwork.
This is another spot where the two trailers split off, with the EU trailer showing William Birkin (who, unlike his game counterpart, seems to actually love his daughter) bursting into Sherry’s bedroom and urging her to come with him. The US trailer instead drops us in on Claire and Chris as she attempts to preach the good gospel of “fuck Umbrella”. Claire pops on a VHS tape sent to her by the one and only Ben Betroluci, who’s been recharacterized as a conspiracy theorist who’s been helping Claire collect evidence to bring the company down. I tried to see if there was anything on his Pepe Silvia board, but nothing in particular stands out.
Next, there’s some shots of the inside of Raccoon City orphanage, with William Birkin up to no good. On the wall we can see what looks like a cutesy, hand-done Umbrella poster, which is vaguely reminiscent of an ad seen in REmake 3.
Hoping over to the EU trailer, we get some just absolutely wonderful shots of the R.P.D. in all its game-accurate glory. We’d seen the facade last year during shooting, but during the day and surrounded by cranes and greenscreen. Finally seeing it as intended gives me chills.
We get to see a shot of Chief Irons barking orders at Leon, followed by our boy in blue sliding the main gate bolt across like in REmake 2.
Meanwhile, back over in the US trailer, we get a shot of the beloved creature Lisa Trevor, which was already shown in the trailer’s teaser yesterday. Unlike her game counterpart, Lisa appears less decrepit and seems to be slightly more cognizant. Lisa of the games could still speak and even write, but it was garbled monster/child speak, as Lisa was caught between the ravaging the virus had done to her mind, and the fact that all of this had been done to her when she was a child. That said, I suspect Lisa shushing here may be a sign that she’ll still be very childlike in her personality.
Jumping over the pond again, the EU trailer gives us our first glimpses of the R.P.D. front hall, which appears to have been lovingly recreated from its REmake 2 counterpart. While we can’t make out a whole lot of it, we can clearly see the reception desk, the door to the West offices, and the goddess statue in the background. It’s also really hard to see thanks to the security gate, but I’m fairly sure there’s a typewriter to the far right of the shot, next to Irons’s arm, right where it was in-game.
In the US trailer, we get a few quick shots of Claire and Leon prepping for the oncoming horde, and interestingly it appears that Claire actually hands Leon his iconic riot vest here, and he starts the film out in regular R.P.D. blues.
Next up we get S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team flying around the forest zone situated in North West Raccoon City, where they’re searching for the helicopter of their compatriots, Bravo team, who disappeared during in the middle of their mission. Now, this might be a stretch, but this shot, in particular, stood out to me. Assuming for a moment that Bravo team didn’t just drive into the woods, this overturned jeep they spot is strangely reminiscent of the Military Police jeep Bravo team finds in the opening of Resident Evil 0.
Now, I’m under no illusions that this film will somehow be including the plot of Resident Evil 0 along with all the other shit it’s got going on, but if that is what this is, it’s an interesting nod that seemingly leaves the door open for a Resident Evil 0 project in the future. Of course, there’s also every chance it’s just a nod and means nothing, similar to the prison transport in Silent Hill Revelation 3D‘s finale.
At last, the two trailers synch up again, with a beautiful establishing shot of the Spencer estate. The Spencer Estate, despite being one of the franchise’s most iconic locations, doesn’t actually have many images of what it looks like from the outside, at least not dead-on like this. There’s a piece of concept art, but it contradicts the interior in a few ways. It appears the film has married both that concept art with the correct windows as shown from the building’s interior, which is a nice way of blending it all together.
We get a couple of shots of S.T.A.R.S., Birkin, Sherry, and what looks like an elevator and a zombie before we get back to something interesting. Actually, maybe a little more than interesting — shocking. While fans have been speculating that this film’s sequel may be an adaption of Code: Veronica, this trailer pretty much comes right out and says it. Claire fires up a projector hidden away in some secret basement somewhere, and the footage is of… the Ashford twins, recreated from the infamously creepy film Claire finds in that game. Just to make sure you got it, the film can itself is literally labeled “Ashford Twins”.
A major change to the scene, however, is that Birkin appears to be monitoring them here. In the games, Alexia and her brother Alfred were part of an experiment that saw them cloned from the genetic model of Umbrella co-founder Alexander Ashford’s ancestor, Veronica. Showing them actually being monitored as part of this footage is a creepy touch that ads to the weird combination of tragedy and horror that surrounds these two deeply disturbed siblings.
In amongst the recreated Code: Veronica footage is also some clips of a dark-haired girl screaming. I’m betting that this is footage of young Lisa Trevor being experimented on, especially as the file hidden beneath the Ashford film tin contains a document on her. The information listed is a treasure trove of Easter eggs, listing off the Progenitor Virus (originally introduced in Resident Evil 0) and the G-Virus (originally introduced in Resident Evil 2). For bonus points, the dates listed are actually game accurate, which is kinda wild actually. It’s the kind of small detail that is usually ignored in these sorts of things (and usually not picked up on unless you’re a pedantic idiot like me), and I really appreciate it.
Over in the EU trailer, we have what appears to be Birkin in the midst of packing up and leaving, before being stopped by HUNK and his team, down to his exact dialogue from the REmake 2 version of the scene. It’s intercut with shots of Annette and Sherry, but I suspect that’s just to throw us off. Or they’re just straight-up present for his execution, which would suck.
Now in the US trailer, we have what was, for me, the money shot. One of the things I’ve been very anxious to see is the interior of the Spencer mansion, which is perhaps the franchise’s most iconic location. The build-up in the trailer showing the floor and then Chris and Jill reacting to it in awe before finally showing it was… overwhelming. Alright, I gotta focus here, so we have our first look at the Spencer mansion main hall, which has been recreated from a combination of both its 1996 and REmake versions. The REmake inspiration is the strongest here, but elements like the backdoor being swapped out for a stained-glass window match up with the original.
While the main hall might not be as palatial as its game counterpart, I’m blown away by the dedication to getting the look and feel of it just right. Previously, director Johannes Roberts explained that they had included a few “fixed camera angle” type shots in the film, and this looks to be one of them. It’s charming as all heck and it makes me excited to see more.
Another major reveal, the beloved Headturner. One of Resident Evil‘s most iconic images, referenced in some way across dozens of games and even the first Anderson film, we now have a version actually recreating the moment from the game itself. Based primarily on artwork created for Resident Evil: Director’s Cut, sporting his white jacket (as opposed to the in-game green one), sunken eyes, lipless face, and his weird little hooked nub nose, I’m ecstatic to see him show up here. The lack of head-gash brings him closer to the REmake version as well, so it’s a little of everything.
Getting back to more “background detail” type stuff, we have a shot of Chief Irons shouting at Brad Vickers to answer his radio — most likely an indication that the outbreak has already occurred in Raccoon and Irons is trying to warn Alpha team (which also means that Vickers probably didn’t leave Alpha behind like in the games, but was left behind himself while they explored the mansion). On the wall next to Irons is a map of Raccoon City, which lines up fairly well with the original, pre-remake map of the city as depicted in the Resident Evil Archives guidebook. It is different in places, but you can spot certain areas where it lines up perfectly. The R.P.D., Circular River, Central Street tramway, and Kendo Gunshop are all clearly visible on the map, right where they should be. I wish the labels on the side were more easily visible because I’d love to see what all is listed, but maybe we’ll get a better look in the film proper.
Following this, we get to see why Brad doesn’t answer, as he’s attacked by a zombie while still seated in the helicopter. This lines up with other shots in both trailers showing the helicopter smashing through what appears to be a combination of the mansion’s library and piano room, no doubt stranding S.T.A.R.S. in the mansion. Chickenheart probably tried to take off with the zombie either still around his neck, or dying mid-air, causing the crash. This room is the same one where we have our final battle with Yawn, the giant snake, which Richard’s actor (Chad Rook) has teased is in the film — although he’s also teased Neptune as well. Both of these creatures make a meal out of Richard depending on who you’re playing as so odds are the film is doing one or the other. Guess we’ll see.
Speaking of Yawn/Neptune, we actually seem to see Richard bite it in the next couple of shots, being torn to pieces by zombies. While the actor indicated that he filmed ‘that’ scene and teased both creatures, it’s possible they cut it due to time or budget, replacing it with a simpler death.
Another classic reference, ‘Itchy Tasty’ makes its film debut, scrawled in blood on a glass window. A reference to the Keeper’s Diary from Resident Evil 1, ‘Itchy Tasty’ is probably the most iconic phrase in the series (although usually combined with ‘4//’), and it’s awesome to see it used here even with different circumstances. The writer, a balding zombie, lauches itself through the window at Claire, moving much faster than the shamblers we see throughout the trailer. This makes sense, as she appears to have been a test subject we see Birkin working on throughout both trailers.
Next we have Claire and her posse of survivors moving down a hallway in the R.P.D., and if I’m not mistaken there’s a quick shout out to beloved officer Marvin Branagh. In REmake 2, you can find “officer of the month” posters celebrating Marvin throughout the R.P.D.. Low and behold, based on the color and design, that same poster appears to have been recreated for this film as a small background reference.
Back to back we have shots of Birkin ‘waking up’ after his execution at the hands of the U.S.S., and then his final mutated form as G, ripping his way into what might be the final escape train from the end of Resident Evil 2. This look isn’t based on any specific version of G, with Stage 3 being perhaps the closest but still not exact. Odds are this is his only real mutation in the film (maaaaybe we’ll see G1) and they wanted to pack a wallop on the nightmare scale.
Looks like not for long though, skipping ahead just a smidge we see Leon in that same supposed train location taking aim and firing the ATM-4 launcher you use to blow away Mr. X in REmake 2. Game over.
In amongst all this, we get to see another big creature reveal, our buddy the Licker. It’s a bit difficult to tell at this juncture where this is, but based on the decorations everywhere I’m willing to bet this is somewhere in the Orphanage, rather than the R.P.D., which most likely means the Licker will be revealed a bit later into the movie.
Here we see what appears to be Wesker’s death, or at least him faking it. It’s hard to tell where exactly this film is going with him — but my bet is that he stays a “hero” for the duration, and is only revealed as a traitor after being “reborn”, and will come back as Wesker™ in the sequel, as he’s one of the main antagonists of Code: Veronica.
We have some shots of the U.S.S. opening fire in the streets of Raccoon, which either means that they’re acting as the U.B.C.S. in this story, or more sinisterly — operating as a cleanup crew and taking out everyone systematically. It remains to be seen if Raccoon will get nuked at the end of the film, so it’s possible that Umbrella makes an effort to contain the outbreak first. This sort of cleanup operation is common in zombie media, and it makes what Umbrella did to Raccoon feel a little bit more personal than just getting the US government to push a button. It’s also entirely possible that this doesn’t work, and they drop the bomb anyway.
That about does it, but there’s a promotional image of Chris that’s worth talking about as well. Another thing the film’s director had mentioned before was that they had even recreated paintings hanging in the mansion, and we get a chance to see one of them here. Behind good ‘ol Chris is the picture of two knights striking each other, which is used to solve a puzzle in REmake. It’s recreated very well here, especially considering how blurry the painting is in the original game.
That’s all for now, but if this movie gets another trailer you can expect me to be all over it. Until then, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City releases November 24th only in theaters!