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Every Horror Video Game Movie Franchise, Ranked Worst To Best – Screen Rant

The recently released Resident Evil reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, proves video game horror movie adaptations are capable of lasting impact, and here’s how they all rank from worst to best. Horror video games often make the best film adaptations, considering how well the inherent tension and visceral visual violence of the genre translates to the big screen. Although this claim may also be somewhat relative, given how poorly film adaptations of non-horror video games have been received.

Action-based video game adaptations tend to fail at the box office, despite continued efforts like the Uncharted film starring Tom Holland. Few genres are as interactive and immersive as horror, however, which makes it perfectly suited for both movies and video games. Whether controlling the action or merely watching it, both mediums rely on the viewer to become invested in the fate of the characters. It may be the common element of suspense that helps transition the narratives to a new medium more effectively. If horror video games make for good film adaptations, the opposite may also be true. Many horror movies have inspired video games, a tradition that goes back as far as the 1980s with Atari and Nintendo.


Related: Why The Original Resident Evil Movies Starred A New Character

Although the Resident Evil franchise has shown how lucrative horror game adaptations can be, there have also been plenty of failed attempts to achieve the same level of success. It is telling that half of the franchises on this list were first brought to screen by Uwe Boll, a director who has a notoriously combative relationship with the countless critics of his work.  Whether Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City will be the start of a new series or a standalone film remains to be seen, but, in the meantime, here is a ranking of every major horror movie franchise based on a video game.

6. Alone in the Dark

Christian Slater and Tara Reid in Alone in the Dark still

Often referred to as one of the worst horror movies ever, Alone in the Dark is also easily the poorest example of a horror video game adaptation. Intended as a semi-sequel to the fourth game in the survival horror series, the film stars Christian Slater as paranormal investigator Edward Carnby. Along with his archaeologist girlfriend, Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid), Carnby uncovers evidence of an alien creature among discovered artifacts. Directed by Uwe Boll, Alone in the Dark currently holds an astonishingly low 1% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 123 reviews. Along with poor CGI effects and a nonsensical script, the casting of Reid as an archaeologist lacks believability.

A low-budget sequel to the 2005 film was released in 2009, with Rick Yune replacing Slater as Carnby. Although Boll served as producer for the Alone in the Dark sequel nobody asked for, Alone in the Dark 2 was co-directed by the original film’s screenwriters, Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer. The sequel involves witchcraft and is almost more of a reboot. While it is a slight improvement on the original film, Alone in the Dark 2 is still a far cry from being good.

5. House of the Dead

House of the Dead character shooting zombies

In an interview promoting Alone in the Dark (via Real Movie News), Boll spoke of the lessons he “learned from House of the Dead, like that the script wasn’t good.” However, this film about college students escaping an island infested by zombies was better received than Alone in the Dark, though not by much. Based on the 1996 first-person shooter arcade game, House of the Dead approaches the material with a B-film mentality that works in its favor, reaching a level that is so bad it becomes entertaining. Even Boll seemed to embrace the unintentional humor in the film with his director’s cut, which played up some of the film’s glaring shortcomings and was released on DVD as the “Funny Version.

Related: How Scary & Violent Is Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City?

Although never theatrically released in the United States, House of the Dead 2 premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) in 2006. The sequel takes place several months after the events of the first film, but the only returning actor was Ellie Cornell as Coast Guard Officer Jordan Casper. While the shortcomings of the first film provide some unintended entertainment value, House of the Dead 2 is simply uninspired and dull.

4. Bloodrayne

Kristanna Loken in BloodRayne

A handful of successful horror movies have disproved the video game curse, but those directed by Boll tend to have the opposite effect. In yet another attempt from the German filmmaker to adapt a horror video game, Bloodrayne is based on a series of hack and slash video games developed by Terminal Reality. Despite the game series taking place just before World War II, Boll’s film sets the action in 18th-century Romania. The film follows Rayne (Kristanna Loken), a crossbreed of vampire and human whose vampire father (Ben Kingsley) wants to destroy all of humanity. Bloodrayne is the best of Boll’s horror video game adaptations, but that is hardly high praise, considering how poorly received and reviewed Bloodrayne was upon release.

Two direct-to-video sequels were also directed by Boll, an approach he would also take with the In The Name Of The King movie franchise. Loken was replaced by Natassia Malthe for the sequels. Michael Paré is the only actor to appear in all three films, though inexplicably playing different roles each time. This is partially due to the large gap in time between narratives, with BloodRayne 2: Deliverance set in the American Wild West and BloodRayne: The Third Reich in Europe during World War II. It took three films for Boll to finally set the films in the same period as the games, but that is not nearly enough to save the franchise.

3. Doom

The pioneering first-person action of the Doom series always felt perfectly suited for a horror movie adaptation, and the high expectations may have played a part in the disappointment many felt about the 2005 film. The adaptation was a box office failure and received overwhelmingly poor reviews, though Doom fans have given Dwayne Johnson’s film another chance in recent years. Despite much of Doom feeling like any number of generic sci-fi horror movies involving zombies and mutated creatures, there is an effectively fun first-person shooter sequence that perfectly captures the essence of what made the original games successful. As brief as this sequence is, it was a glimmer of hope for the adaption of horror video games.

Related: Taking Away the Controller: Why Video Game Movies Are Such A Hard Sell

In 2019, the direct-to-video release of Doom: Annihilation rebooted the franchise with a new team of Marines on a mission to battle demon-like creatures. There is no other apparent connection to the 2005 film, with no characters returning. In some ways, Annihilation gets many things better than Doom, including a more faithful explanation for where the creature threat comes from. Unfortunately, it also makes many of the same mistakes and has a noticeably smaller budget to create memorable monsters.

2. Silent Hill

Based on a popular series of survival horror video games, Silent Hill follows the character of Rose (Radha Mitchell), who takes her adopted daughter to the mysterious town of Silent Hill to discover the truth about her background. With French filmmaker Christophe Gans directing and Roger Avary collaborating on the script, Silent Hill seemed to be the first video game horror film with a chance at critical acclaim. Although there is a lot that the film gets right in terms of adapting the atmosphere of the game, it was also overlong at 125 minutes. The decision to gender-flip the game Silent Hill’s Harry character for Rose is also questionable, considering how iconic Harry has become over time.

Adapted from the third video game in the series, Silent Hill: Revelation takes place six years after the first film’s events and was also released six years after the first film. The plot involves Rose’s daughter (Adelaide Clemens) being called back to the town of Silent Hill on her 18th birthday. The film’s 3D release attempted to interact more with the audience, but it is still a poor substitute for playing the games. Despite receiving less than half the original film’s budget, there are a few shining moments in Silent Hill: Revelation, including the Mannequin Monster created for the film.

1. Resident Evil

Resident Evil Alice against zombies

The Resident Evil franchise lands easily at the top of the list, based on the Japanese series of video games credited for defining the survival horror genre, along with internationally bringing zombies to popular culture. As a result, George A. Romero was hired to write and direct the first adaptation of Resident Evil, but his script was ultimately rejected, and Paul W. S. Anderson was hired by Sony Pictures. Anderson oversaw the entire series as producer and directed all but two of the entries in the franchise.

Related: Capcom’s Resident Evil Rules Are Going To Hurt Netflix’s Movie Reboot

There are six entries in the series, all following the original character of Alice (Milla Jovovich), a covert operative attempting to take down the Umbrella Corporation for causing a zombie apocalypse. Each Resident Evil movie could be ranked differently, depending on the importance placed on faithfulness to the games. Often the series appears to be taking more inspiration from the creature designs than the plot. What makes this the best franchise? Even when taking creative liberties, Anderson’s films capture every key element that makes the games a success. Along with the horror of the various monsters, there is often a mystery at the center of the films. Anderson also proves capable of engaging audiences with the action, something that video game horror movie adaptations seem to struggle with, given that films are inherently handicapped by the missing interactivity of a controller.

Next: How Scary & Violent Is Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City?

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