Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ★★★★

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter doesn't hit the emotional and visual power that Retribution did, but plays close to Afterlife in a special sort of way. PWSA (my favourite Anderson, what can I say?) is one of the only directors today that so perfectly embraces what I adore so much about the films of John Carpenter. Like Carpenter, he captures that fundamental togetherness of ordinary characters, gleefully pushing them through horror. Group dynamics are fleeting, but somehow meaningful in the brief context given. Spaces are woven together by chaotic establishing shots and vast corridors; each set-piece arriving as a distinct building block, or "level up" from the previous one. It's difficult to explain why it works, but the way everything falls together is always so comforting to me. Here, in this closing instalment, the ruins of the planet are doubled-down on. This is the most destroyed everything has looked in this franchise, with only burnt-to-dust buildings and endless hordes of zombies (and dragons?) to give it character. From this, the Umbrella Corporation is presented different here. Still as totalitarian as they've always been, but more powerless now that there is actually nothing left outside of them. Instead of appearing threatening, they're accompanied by a certain loneliness; simply going through the motions, waiting for someone to hit the reset button whether they admit it or not. The action sequences are extremely quickly-cut, I've heard a lot of complaints about that, but I'd argue it adds a certain urgency (though it did feel like a bit too much at times), and its continuous short-lasting unclarity brings things in closer in a way that nicely contrasts the bursting expansiveness and symmetry of the previous film. The underlying finality invades every scene, and it wraps things up wonderfully if you ask me.

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