RESIDENT EVIL (2022)
Season 1 [Premiere]
Aired On: Netflix
Release Date: 07/14/22
Action. Horror. SciFi.
"Nearly three decades after the discovery of the T-virus, an outbreak reveals the Umbrella Corporation's dark secrets. Based on the horror franchise."
Resident Evil (2022) is Netflix’s latest adaptation of a legendary property and after so many misses as of late, the streamer was set for a win. However, as has become a theme for any Resident Evil adaptation, the storyline has been tweaked to such an extreme that it’s unrecognizable beyond the character names and trademarks.
Set many years after “the end,” while simultaneously serving as a prequel to the outbreak. The series shares more traits with the typical content from The CW than the games of the same name, this show isn’t made for the fans - it’s made for the unfamiliar.
The infected beings, aptly known as “Zeroes,” share similarities to both those found in the ultra popular The Walking Dead series and the Danny Boyle classic 28 Days Later. These creatures (including mutated monster worms) are rarely exposed to the screen, surely receiving their time of day in future episodes.
The show has two big scenes of CGI creatures that are both mixed in their execution and severely lack the intensity the showrunners so clearly wanted to demonstrate. There’s a grain, almost static filter over the edit, making everything dark have a grimmer tone, similar to the likes of an 80s sci-fi / horror and everything bright partially off putting. An additional demerit for the show is its primary use of computer generated gore - it’s so minimal in the premiere, that it’s hard to see the effort.
On premiere, Resident Evil’s cast is introduced with a relative thud. The future setting (consisting of adult characters) shows us the outcome of “the end” and displays some of the chaos of everyday survival. The prequel setting which is where a majority of the premiere takes place has two teenage characters, Jade (Ella Balinska) and Billy (Siena Agudong) at the forefront with their line delivery and dialogue coming off inauthentic. In these scenes, not much stands out in the form of the show’s acting beyond one; Lance Reddick as Albert Wesker slays in one particular scene, showcasing that he is the biggest draw of the show (thus far).
As a fan of Paul W.S. Anderson’s not so loyal film adaptations, I admire the Netflix series taking a more realistic approach from Supernatural showrunner Andrew Dabb, but the typical devices of the teen dominated YA genre bleed heavily into this premiere, draining out almost everything that fans would recognize as the fear-encompassing world of Resident Evil.