’Resident Evil Village’: Let’s Talk About the Dollmaker Donna Beneviento & Her Tragic Story
By Dave Trumbore
Published May 30, 2021
And Angie, too, of course.
Though Lady Dimitrescu and her darling daughters were the main focus of Capcom’s marketing rollout for Resident Evil Village, fans soon grew to love some of the other campy characters once they got their hands on the game. The Four Lords of the Village and their minions are obviously the standouts here. One of them, however, prefers a life of isolation, shadows, and even living in an otherworldly dreamscape rather than facing the real world as it is. So it’s to Donna Beneviento we turn our attention now.
RELATED: ‘Resident Evil Village’: Let’s Talk About Lady Dimitrescu and Her Darling Daughters
Spoilers AheadAfter defeating the aforementioned Lady D and her daughters, Ethan finds that the hidden world beyong the village square holds many more secrets. The branching path leading north away from the village, through a progression-locked gate of course, takes Ethan through a Potter’s Field, across a rickety suspension bridge above a mountain stream, and through what was once probably a lovely garden… minus, you know, all the tombstones and dolls hanging from nooses in the tree branches. (You can trace all paths and pinpoint loot on this fantastic interactive map.) Despite this area being largely free of encounters on your first trek through, you’ll find a good amount of creepy lore here regarding the estate and its owners’ tragic history. Enter the next Lord of the Village: Donna Beneviento.
Upon entering the life-sized dollhouse, Ethan finds the next missing piece of his daughter Rosemary, but then the power goes out and with it goes the flask and all of Ethan’s weapons and gear. That means no shooting, no healing, and no turning back. How could this possibly be? And what’s with the giant, gurgling, insatiable fetus chasing you through the depths of the Beneviento manor? It’s all in your head, see. While the other three Lords are very upfront and obvious with their transformations and power sets, Donna Beneviento prefers to stick to the shadows and play head games as both a method of defense and of trapping her victims, forever. That’s a nod to both Donna’s personal trauma due to the tragedies that befell her family and to the specific powers (and defects) granted to her by Mother Miranda’s Cadou experiment.
The noble Beneviento family were descended from village co-founder Berengario. Before Mother Miranda even entered the picture, Donna experienced severe social anxiety as a child, preferring to speak and interact with people through her doll, Angie, which her father had made for her. But when Mother Miranda chose the Beneviento family member Bernadette for her Cadou tests, things took a turn for the worse. Bernadette died as a result of the experiment, driving Donna’s parents to suicide. Donna coped by staying isolated and secluded in the family estate with only the gardener for conversation, making dolls as a replacement for her dead family members, including Claudia, whose specific family relationship isn’t confirmed in the game. At some point during her early adulthood, Donna, too, was corrupted and transformed by Mother Miranda’s mold parasite.
Though Donna was implanted with the Cadou, she survived, showing only a severe facial deformity over her eye as a result. No other physical transformation manifested, but the mold allowed her to secrete a psychoactive substance that caused those afflicted by it to see visions. (Mold-infected flower pollen also induced hallucinations in anyone who breathed them in, such as Ethan upon entering the garden.) Donna was then “adopted” by Mother Miranda as one of the village Lords, despite the fact that her mental health issues and facial deformity caused Miranda to see her as “defective.” In-game lore reveals that Donna used her hallucination ability to allow her gardener to “see his (dead) family again” but also to torture Ethan, attempting to get him to stay in the depths of her mansion forever. One wonders whether the Mia doll that serves as this area’s main puzzle was part of Donna’s macabre craftsmanship or if it was all in Ethan’s mind all along…
Image via Capcom
Oddly enough, Donna Beneviento was originally supposed to be more of a ghostly horror with a bit of creepy doll possession thrown in for good measure. There’s also a difference in the English localization and the original Japanese version, with the former blaming a facial scar (which is not shown, or not painted, in Donna’s portrait with Angie) for Donna’s aloof nature and the latter blaming her isolation on her parents’ suicide. There seems to have been some hand waving when it came to Donna Beneviento’s concept stages, but ultimately the final execution gives Resident Evil Village and its fans one of the creepiest, most unforgettable encounters in the franchise.
When the hallucinations weren’t enough to defeat Ethan (even if they had players putting the controller down and walking away), Donna was able to split her Cadou into her many dolls (not just Angie) and control them like a psychic puppetmaster. Ethan eventually defeats Donna by defeating the Cadou split among her dolls, and it’s the Angie doll which is collected as a vaulable item instead of a crystallized form of Donna herself. Upon defeat, Donna disappates much like the ghostly figures from Japanese folklore that inspired her original design. So ends the shortest, most tragic, and downright creepiest sequence of Resident Evil Village and its boss battles. Now we just have to wait for the inevitable release of Donna & Angie Funko Pop dolls to add to our own collection.
KEEP READING: ‘Resident Evil Village’ Spoilers Reveal an All-New Branch of the Fan-Favorite Franchise
First ‘Q-Force’ Trailer Reveals Voice Cast for Netflix’s Queer-Themed Animated Spy Comedy Series
The queer-themed adult animated comedy series premieres this September.
Resident Evil: Village
About The Author
(9238 Articles Published)
Senior Editor – Games | Former Editor of Animation, Streaming Content |Author of “The Science of Breaking Bad” from MIT Press | Twitch Affiliate: twitch.tv/drclawmd | Co-host of the Saturday Mourning Cartoons podcast | Community manager for Ironface Studios | Former science freelance writer for Nerdist.com |
From Dave Trumbore
BEST MOVIES ON NETFLIX