The world would be a much better place if it wasn’t for shady pharmaceutical companies with megalomaniacs in charge. This is certainly true of Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corporation, led by the unhinged Evelyn Marcos (Paola Núñez), who repeatedly reminds viewers she wants to change the world. Despite largely being detached from the storyline of the games, there are references to the original Raccoon City incident – and others – which will appease fans here, even if Netflix’s adaptation is more teen drama than outright anime horror.
This is a silly, silly television show, riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies. There’s no real logic to the way events unfold, so you need to switch off your brain as it segues between two connected timelines, depicting the origins of a deadly outbreak and the aftermath. Tearaway twin sisters Jade (Ella Balinska, Tamara Smart) and Billie Wesker (Adeline Rudolph, Siena Agudong) provide the through line for the plot, beginning in the present day as they struggle to adapt to their dystopian New Raccoon City surroundings as teenagers. Set in South Africa, this Umbrella-owned complex is all white-washed walls and picket fences: blissfully inspired by the American dream.
Both of the protagonists have plot armour, so you never get any sense of impending danger – particularly in the present day, when you already know Jade’s still alive. As is par for the course for horror fiction, they all make terrible decisions constantly – the kind that will have you screaming at your television screen. Motives and emotions seem to change at the scriptwriter’s whim, and so it can be a little difficult to keep track of everyone’s intentions. You do get a sense that the show is simply making it up as it goes along.
While we appreciated the globe-trotting aspect of the future scenes, the decision to tackle the T-Virus as a widespread global pandemic doesn’t exactly help the show to stand out. Resident Evil is at its best when it’s personal: a contained outbreak in a small, confined location. This isn’t that, and some of the later set-pieces make sure you know it. Nevertheless, the action sequences are entertaining in a ridiculous kind of way, especially one underground scene with Lickers – although the ending payoff never quite delivers to the level that we’d have liked it to. It sets up a sequel, of course, but Nemesis only knows if Netflix will make it.
Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick) steals the show a lot of the time, even if he is banging his head against an idiotic script. It’s important to remember that Resident Evil is not exactly high art to begin with, and so it feels befitting of the franchise to take the story in such a stupid direction. However, faithful fans may take umbrage with the direction employed here: this is “well hello, fellow kids” cringe as opposed to “Chris Redfield punches a boulder” ridiculousness. It’s Resident Evil for the Riverdale crowd, and you’ll already know whether that appeals to you.
The show’s pacing does come to a crawl around Episode 5 where the teenage twins embark on an Easter egg hunt for what feels like an eternity. While this does bring some of the puzzle solving aspects from the games into the adaptation, it feels like cynical hot air designed to boost Netflix’s watch time statistics. Nevertheless, it goes off the rails from there, so the lunacy at least feels earned. And when we say off the rails, we really mean it: not even Chris Redfield’s chiselled chest muscles are ready for the silliness that ensues.
That’s not to say that it’s not all entertaining, of course – it is. You just have to turn your brain off and let it wash over you, because as alluded to earlier, the writers will do anything for a shock or a twist – even if, in many cases, it means defying the rules of the universe they’ve established. In the show’s defence, it never really strives to be an award-winning masterpiece: it knows it’s goofy, cartoon horror and it leans heavily into that.
The debate will, of course, rage about whether this needed to be based on Resident Evil in the first place. While the connections to the games do deepen as the plot progresses, it’s still ultimately its own thing – both tonally and from a pure lore perspective. There’s fun to be had from the sheer stupidity of it all, though, and even if many of the plot devices have been done to death – shady pharmaceutical firm! Unhinged CEO! Dumbass teenage decision making! – it passes Netflix’s binge-worthy test. For that alone, we think the show’s a success.
For more on Resident Evil, you can read our First Impressions through here. How would you rate the show? Were you able to embrace its silliness, or was it a little too cringe for you? Don’t let the dogs out in the comments section below.
I'm in shock! Nobody would ever expect a Netflix adaptation to be bad!
Watched it all at the weekend.
Verdict... Poop lol.
I've seen worse and Lance Reddick was really good, especially towards the end when -spoilers-
Overall definitely not great but watchable
Watched it all and if you have not, save your time and don’t. It’s even further removed from RE than the films which in comparison are a better watch. Long periods of dialogue, teen issues amply covered with nods here and there to the source material. Very doubtful anyone who made this has played any of the games.
Somehow this bs is more insulting than the trash that is Welcome to Raccoon City.
I'm 5 episodes in.
I mean it's absolutely not Resident Evil, but it's a perfectly average time filler.
It was only last night that it dawned on me that the earlier timeline is just a teen angst plot. That Riverdale mention in the title of this article rings very true.
It's not terrible. I'll watch the rest of it, but to be fair, that's only because I finished Parks and Rec last night.
Edit: Just finished the final episode. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it.
I'd watch a season 2.
I've thoroughly enjoyed watching the show even if it doesn't have anything to do with the games. Another season, please.
It's just a bizarre show, everything about it can be described as an odd choice in direction and tone. It feels like they knew they couldn't make a decent resident evil adaptation so they didn't even try.
I liked the part about reading Zootopia porn. It's relatable.
I've watched 4 episodes over the weekend ,its alright nothing special, i also watched jurrasic Park dominion as well ,which makes resident evil look like the godfather in comparison, that film is a massive pile of hot poop ,and all involved should be more ashamed than Ryan Reynolds is of the green lantern.
Really looks awful..if anybody fancys a good show then watch the longest night on netflix..brilliant and i cant wait for the 2nd series..
Removed - inappropriate
I really enjoyed it in the same way I enjoy everything Resident Evil ; tongue firmly in cheek and a quirked eyebrow. Lance was a cherry on top of the Eton's Mess that I just gobbled up.
@snoopae Oh, another one of those huh, shame. I don't get it, don't put RE in the title if it's barely going to have anything to do with it.
It’s fine. Watch ozark instead.
Only watched the first episode. I can't stomach anymore. Even as background noise, I'd rather put on the any number of good shows I've already seen.
Couldn't even get through the first episode
Brain dead horror for the Riverdale crowd? Sounds like an inappropriate comment to me 😉
Its basically a mainstream tv show about a zombie virus with Resident Evil brand tacked on to it to sell it. Thats what it felt like for me watching it.
Lance Reddick made it watchable imo. Great actor that sometimes ends up in these mainstream car crashes. Must pay well though!
I finished it last night , this show from top to bottom is unenjoyable, the pacing is not good , the characters are annoying and unlikeable, the music at times feels like it doesn't fit. There so many times where i wasn't sure what kind of direction they wanted to go with the show , like it starts off like it wants to be horror then there are some really poorly delivered lines that were supposed to be humor , then of course the teen drama...
I will say this there where a few instances of things that i did appreciate as a long time RE fan the lickers were actually really cool , they also added an old school puzzle that needed to be solved in RE 1/2/3 fashion.
AS I did appreciate that stuff it also led to more of my frustration because who ever did make this clearly knew enough about the source materiel to add these things and yet with the knowledge of RE still managed to go in this direction .
It’s pants but it’s fun. Lance Reddick is genuinely great, especially towards the latter half of the season. I’ve watched worse and I’d watch it over a lot of ‘good’ TV that’s boring. It’s certainly not boring, that’s for sure.
I was not a fan of Riverdale but I enjoyed this. I went in knowing it was not going to be a faithful telling of RE and I was ok with that. Def not on par with Stranger Things but good.
Watched episode one last night and by the midpoint of the show I was already playing on my phone. Definitely not a good show, but entertaining in a “I need something to put on so the glow from the TV can sooth my soul” type of way.
I give it one “meh” and a half a “pppppppp”
I like Lance Reddick and Ella Balinska but the series is really bad. Poor writing and vfx...
Calling something idiotic, that's based off a game where a money driven corporation thinks doomsday is good business and a man punches a giant boulder into submission... feels redundant.
Most here have made up their minds before watching anyways.
No ta. I saw what they did to The Witcher.
I wouldn't piss on it if it was on fire. This crap isn't resident evil.
@tameshiyaku Yes cause I'm sure as a Resident Evil fan, I will enjoy the CLASSIC teen drama, zootopia porn, and the random dancing scene at the end that is so out of place. This is on the level of Dragonball Evolution bad.
@tallythwack Lol yea what the heck was up with that edwardscissorsaur? Those things looked so flimsy. How did they fail that bad with cg around?
Thought it was a load of old balls but I got some enjoyment out of it nonetheless.
The whole thing makes absolutely no sense but if you roll with it some fun can be had.
I cannot understand the rave reviews it's gotten from some places though.
I think people just judge it too harshly because it differs from the source material. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. I enjoyed my time with this and if and when there is a season 2, I will definitely be watching it. This is coming from someone that thought Welcome to Raccoon City was absolutely dreadful.
It’s not bad, it’s just the writers. ‘Cause nobody has this much bad luck AND survives an apocalypse.
The show should never have been associated with Resident Evil.
Only through a few episodes, but so far it isn't to bad.
Where is the: ‘I’ll get really drunk one weekend, order a takeaway & binge it’ option?
In all seriousness seems like they should’ve stayed away from the RE name & gone for something else.
Horror usually does great on Netflix anyways.
I haven't watched this yet, maybe tomorrow if I'm bored.
You know you’re in for a rough ride when the very first shot is of someone using a tent in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
Irony here in that Braindead itself being probably the sharpest funniest gorefest ever made. They don’t quite do zombies like em days of yore
I didn't actually mind it, probably a 6/10 - there was some absolutely dreadful parts but I enjoyed the little call backs to the games.
@z0d15g0d I really thought it was gonna high five the t rex at the end, and Chris pratts 'talk to the hand' dinosaur superpower was absolutely ridiculous, when that kid said "eyes on me" to the baby raptor ,along with the ridiculous pratt talk to the hand supermove,I nearly cringed out of my skin.
@tallythwack Yea it was packed with cringe fests. Even Jeff's shirt buttoning scene was so painful.
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