You’d be forgiven to hear there’s a new resident Evil adaptation coming out and thinking, “Didn’t they just try that?” Over the past 20 years, there have been seven resident Evil movies, including one to restart which came out less than eight months ago. Now, Netflix is throwing another title based on the iconic horror games into the mix.
The new series resident Evil moves its origins from the United States to New Raccoon City in South Africa. The events of the games are supposed to be canon and Raccoon City Classic™ is long gone. The show evenly focuses on two timelines, which is something all shows apparently have to do these days. In 2022, twin sisters Jade and Billie Wesker (Tamara Smart and Siena Agudong) move to New Raccoon City with their father, pillar resident Evil the villainous Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick, king of the “vaguely menacing face of a sleazy syndicate” cast). New Raccoon City is a corporate city built by the Umbrella Corporation, a suspicious pharmaceutical giant with a long list of secrets, including the truth about, hey, everything that happened to old The city of the raccoon?
And then there’s the 2036 storyline, which follows adult Jade (Ella Balinska) “14 years after the end,” something we learn from a caption ad on the nose. She lives in an isolated encampment in the middle of post-apocalyptic London, studying the zombies (or “zeros,” as they’re called here) for any signs that the world-ending T-virus might be evolving. With the exception of 300 million survivors, the rest of Earth’s population has turned into wandering masses that tick all the modern zombie boxes: growling wet, sniffing the air for blood, swallowing movie actors. background – you get the idea.
Between the two periods, the pre-dystopian scenario has more dynamism. Agudong, Smart, and Reddick work well together as a nuanced family unit. Albert works hard for a business that serves no purpose, of course, but he also fiercely protects his children. It’d be a stretch to call him a “good dad” (what’s up with him taking their blood samples once every two weeks, for example?), but Reddick’s charisma and warmth complement which could be quite a thankless role. It’s a shame, then, that the story is filled with inorganic dialogue and a parade of pop culture references. Billie Eilish, Lululemon and Elon Musk are all named within the first five minutes of the first episode, driving home that it’s the New resident Evil. It would be tolerable if the outside world had any influence on how things go in New Raccoon City. Instead, it presents itself as a lazy facade that undermines the city’s ominous isolation. “We’re in South Africa and there’s, like, three black people here,” Jade whispers to Billie on the drive.
The 2036 plot doesn’t fare any better, aside from some good set-pieces against mutants, including one with a kaiju-sized caterpillar that makes us wish for a version of this show that was… weirder. Unfortunately, resident Evil is happy to rest on zombie apocalypse shots as Jade’s encampment is breached and she’s forced to find safety. There is a madmaxscavenger-like stronghold surrounded by zombies, an amoral smuggler who trades goods for safe passage to Calais, and, of course, an arm of the new Umbrella Corp. hot on the heels of Jade, led by smiling Irish sociopath Richard Baxter (a very game Turlough Convery).
resident Evil doesn’t completely veer into mystery box territory but there are some interesting questions raised in its first four episodes. The T virus is responsible for all zombies, yes, but it also mutates almost everything in its path. Are there humans out there who are even After mutated? The absence of an adult Billie in 2036 also sets the alarm bells ringing for the 2022 story, and it’s young Billie who has the series’ most compelling lead thus far. Luckily, the series doesn’t take us very long, confirming that Billie is still playing somewhere in the year 2036. As for what she does, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
In the end, after a good opening episode, resident Evil settles into an action-adventure slog rather than something new or scary. The complete absence of “horror” here is a blatant sin. We’re presented with monsters in the dark and bloody lab experiments gone wrong, but never do they land so scary. Rather, they present themselves as superficial obligations to the genre.
The resident Evil The video game series has successfully reinvented itself more than once, maintaining the kind of claustrophobic terror that put the franchise on the map in the first place. There is none of that in this new story, which could be mistaken for yet another Walking Dead fallout if you trade every mention of Umbrella and the Wesker surname. The original 1996 game is credited with re-emerging zombies as a major pop-cultural force, but it again exhausted its welcome a decade ago. by Netflix resident Evil is proof that it’s time to bury a pickaxe in the franchise.