‘Resident Evil Village’ is too self-aware to fully enjoy it

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Ethan Winters, protagonist of Resident Evil Village, wakes up after being half-stabbed to find himself in a scene that also feels indebted to Hellraiser like that of Jim Henson Labyrinth. He sees a dark room in the castle where a quintet of monsters looms above him, snorting and giggling as they argue over which of them will manage to horribly murder their captive. A tiny living doll in a wedding dress screams at a hunched, drooling mutant whose face is covered in distended boils. A giant evening vampire wears tricks over Ethan with a slim cigarette holder in a gloved hand, bickering with a man in cowboy gear and John Lennon glasses.

This group of monsters is hilarious. It’s an assortment of Halloween decorations that comes to life; Riders of the Apocalypse Party City. The cowboy spreads his arms as the werewolves start to crowd the room. “Lycans and gentlemen, thank you for waiting!” he declares. “And now, let the games begin!”

This character’s announcement, sloppy pun and all, sounds like a mission statement for Town– an invitation to the cheerful fantasy of autumn evenings which, if properly maintained throughout the game, would have made the last resident Evil one of the best series to date.

Since its inception over two decades ago, the resident Evil The series flirted with different styles of horror (and sci-fi action) storytelling. Her first entries were B-movie mailings where amateur voice actors did their best to navigate. awkward scripts which functioned as an unintentional schlock comedy – an approach that culminated in the more deliberate humor of Resident Evil 4of one-liners, villains of the high camps and classic horror evocations. At the time of 2017 Resident Evil 7 was released, the series retreated from a path that ultimately led to excess of absurd action movies and decided to try, one more time, to be scary on purpose.

Following the well-received horror of the deep south of 7, a game that also seemed concerned with pleasing the old school resident Evil fans because he thoughtlessly intended to ape the aesthetic of slashers like the Seen and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, Town Much of it seems interested in changing course once more and returning to the breathless, carnival-like vibe of the series’ choppy first entries. Its principle alone is enough to make it clear. After his daughter is kidnapped, Ethan finds himself in a fictional Romanian village that the modern world seems to have forgotten. He immediately ends up fighting for his life as crazed werewolves chase him through a wintry maze of grimy dirt roads and densely populated rural houses at the foot of a gigantic castle.

The non-ferocious townspeople he meets are all from a central Universal Pictures casting session of the 1930s: peasant women in 19th-century dresses to their ankles and men in woolen sweaters and flat caps looking for always a few moments to pick up forks and torches. Before long, Ethan dodges the towering aristocratic vampire mentioned above as she and his blood-mouthed daughters track him down through a castle whose Gothic exterior hides a maze of gaudy baroque chambers and hallways, ivory and gold.

In the dungeons under their lavishly appointed home, Ethan discovers that these vampires are trapping prey in order to create an artisanal red wine mixed with the blood of the virgin. The ridiculous doesn’t stop there. Later, after defeating a fish monster that pitifully vomits between transformations into a towering leviathan, Ethan gives a eulogy: “In death as well as in life.” Loathsome! ”(At another point, he kills a huge werewolf and remarks“ Eat shit ”as it crumbles to dust at his feet.)

Even outside of its wacky dialogues, larger-than-life locations, and the variety of bizarre monsters that haunt these places, Town is filled with insanely absurd jokes. In particular, the game has a evil Dead-indebted fixing with brutalize Ethan’s hands. His palms are pierced with hooks, his fingers are chewed by werewolves, and an entire forearm is cut off before Ethan, applying some sort of cartoon logic, grabs the cut piece of himself, sticks it on. to his newly amputated knot and pours it out. medicinal liquid on it so that it miraculously attaches.

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