So the commercially successful yet criticially panned franchise based on the survival horror video game is finally coming to an end (so it seems…). Just to make you aware of where I stand with this franchise, I’ve only seen the first film and that was years ago. I’ve seen brief moments of some of the other films whilst flicking through channels on TV. In terms of the franchise it’s based upon, I like every numbered Resident Evil game except for 5 and 6, I’m currently playing through 7 and I’m really enjoying it. Anyway…
In this film Alice (Milla Jovovich) discovers that she must return to the place where the initial T-Virus outbreak began, Raccoon City because the Umbrella Corp. are planning a final strike against the remaining survivors of the zombie apocalypse.
I’m not going to hold back in this review, watching this film provided me with the worst cinema experience I have had in recent memory. I dropped in and out of sleep multiple times during this film. I also lost count of the amount of times I checked my watch and contemplated walking out of the cinema. In the end, I stayed in my seat specifically so I can warn you all to save your precious hard earned money.
The story here is rather generic, and the script is as basic as you would expect it to be, especially if you are familiar with any of the previous films. There are a few twists and turns in the narrative towards the films climax, which could’ve potentially been appreciated if it weren’t for the fact that the film changes certain aspects of the story, that has been built up through out the franchise so far, as if you aren’t supposed to notice that they have changed it. The film opens with a five minute recap of the journey so far, think of it like a season premiere of your favourite television show, where at the beginning of the episode they’re giving you a quick recap of the previous seasons events. It’s a poor way to start off the film but what makes it worse is the information we are told in this recap, doesn’t even align with the information we gathered and have seen through out the previous entires in the franchise.
Pretty much all of the performances are serviceable, nobody stands out nor leaves an impression on you once the film is over. They’re all forgettable if I’m honest. There’s scenes towards the end of the film where some characters are supposed to convey are large amount of emotion, long story short, the attempt they make to do this isn’t believable whatsoever.
When it comes to the way this film is edited allow me to say this very clearly. This film has the ABSOLUTE WORST editing I have ever seen. Trust me I am not exaggerating. It felt like the editors were editing this film whilst having multiple seizures. I think director Paul W. S. Anderson was attempting to direct a lot of exhilarating pace and energy throughout the whole run time. So his idea and method of trying to accomplish that was to constantly cut to different shots unnecessarily. I kid you not, there are plenty of moments during the film where within the space of three seconds there would be about 8 different jump cut edits. It’s both jarring and nauseating. I didn’t view this film in 3D and I’m very thankful I didn’t, it probably would’ve given me a migraine. All that aside, another thing this style of editing does, is it prevents you from being able to even understand what is going on, on the screen. The geography of the characters and where they are within a setting, or what they are doing and what’s going on is pretty much obscured for most of the run time due to the frantic editing.
One thing I quickly began to notice is the film was very loud, in fact far too loud to the point which it became annoying. This isn’t beautiful sound design mastered to create a large soundscape that complements the film, No. It’s loud noises for the sake of being loud, as if making the sounds louder makes it better or more effective. The fact that I managed to fall asleep despite the sound being so ear piercingly loud is really saying something. As a fan of horror, there are a few common tropes of the genre that really irritate me at my core. One of them is poorly executed/cheap jump scares. Guess what? This film has loads of them and you can see them from a mile away. The formula the film takes when it comes to jump scares is this, Alice is walking around, the sound suddenly drowns itself out until everything is silent, and then BANG a jump scare occurs. It could be a zombie jumping out of nowhere or even a character tapping her on the shoulder, regardless of what it is you’ll still get the same overly exaggerated and unrealistic loud noise with added bass that’s supposed to jump you. Since when does touching somebodies shoulder generate bass and a loud bang noise?
I know this franchise is based on a video game but that doesn’t mean that the visual effects are supposed to look like they’re from a mid 2000’s video game. The use of green screen is very poor as is the effects on some of the creatures. It’s 2017 and for a film of this nature, I expect better. I’ve seen better done with a smaller budget on television.
From a stylistic stand point there were some terrible decisions made. There’s a scene towards the latter half of the film where Alice is about to engage in a fight with one of the characters. All of a sudden we see her visualise different scenarios in her head of her attempting to attack this person and getting killed. It made me ask myself why are we seeing this? And what is the purpose of us seeing this? It just makes the film all that more exaggerated than it already is. There’s also moments in the same scene when we see her analyse her surroundings for items she could use to fight with. In these moments we suddenly get an onscreen indication in text and numbers, of the probablity and percentage of her using that item as a weapon and being successful. Once again it made me think, why are we seeing this? And what is the purpose of us seeing this?
I’ll end this review with a question. Now this film is literally titled The Final Chapter, so why does it end in a way which leaves room for a sequel? That is the question of the day.
Overall Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a mess, avoid it at all costs. It has the worst editing I have ever seen and has provided me with my worst cinema experience in recent memory. I’d rather expeiereince 2015’s Fantasitc Four five times in a row instead of watching this film again once more. I have absolutely no praise for any aspect of this film.
(1 Star out of Five)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose and Iain Glen.
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. Now showing in UK & US Cinemas.