Resident Evil (2022) comes to Netflix for an 8-part series, rebooting the franchise after six movies with Milla Jovovich – the last three featuring stunning 3D, and a movie reboot, subtitled “Welcome to Raccoon City“, which only cost $25m to make, but then only took $42m at the box office, so as well as the fact that the movie LOST money (because a budget is actually up to 3 times that figure, taking promotion into account), there’s no appetite for a sequel anyway.
So, it’s up to Netflix to have a go, and the opener is titled “Welcome to New Raccoon City”, where it’s 2036, everywhere looks a complete mess, and it’s “Fourteen years after The End”.
So, in the near future, we first see lead heroine Jade Wesker (Ella Balinska) testing out the resilience of the zombies (the first time we see them), by baiting them with a rabbit. They’re a bit slow and stupid, though. We learn, she’s been testing these zombies for months, but things are about to change… (yes, I’m trying to avoid spoilers, y’see!)
After seeing some more monsters, it’s back to 2022, “Three months before The End”, where the 14-year-old Jade moves into the New Raccoon City, created by the Umbrella Corporation, that’s all spanking new, but white in structure and the new neighbours look creepy as hell.
This Jade (Tamara Smart – Hard Sun) is with sister, Billie (Siena Agudong), and their father, Albert Wesker, whose race has changed for this series, and is played by Lance Reddick (The Guest)… and already, Billie can spot something is amiss with the wildlife.
If there’s one thing about their lives that is a constant, it’s that Dad gives them a regular blood test, even though they’ve never ever been sick. They also know that he works for the Umbrella Corporation, but in what capacity? All I will say is that open seeing some rabbits in cages whilst visiting with Daddy, they think there’s some animal testing going on, and if you’ve ever played any of the games, you know that Umbrella is the source of the T-virus, which led to the zombies in the first place.
Since these creatures have the T-virus, and just want to eat and spread it, they’re referred to as ‘zeroes’, aka zero-strain.
So, is their curiosity satisfied in episode 1, and that’s the end of it? Or do you think some stuff is going to hit the fan, and thing are going to go Pete Tong? Well, the opening scenes from 2036 with the zombies certainly answer that question for you.
However, it’s not about the destination in Resident Evil, it’s about the journey, and along the way, we’ll meet Baxter, a bearded shouty man who’ll make his mark when the time comes, as well as Umbrella CEO Evelyn Marcus (Paola Nuñez).
There’s things to discover about certain characters which I won’t divulge – obviously, but while I was a bit worried when I saw lots of shaky camerawork used at times to indicate tension, this wasn’t quite as often as I feared. And for those with a sensitive stomach, you know that zombies love to carry out lots of gory eating of people, so why are you even watching this? Be gone!
Netflix’s Resident Evil has some humour dropped in from time to time, but doesn’t feel slick like the films from Ms Jovovich and her husband, Paul WS Anderson, which I mostly really enjoyed, and as I mentioned, the last three for the 3D, which was superbly well done. I know No.4 and 5 were shot in 3D, but it wasn’t until after I’d seen Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, before I discovered it was shot in 2D, and converted to 3D in post-production, as the effect was so good.
I haven’t seen the most recent film, though, and as mentioned earlier, neither did a lot of people, given the box office returns.
When it comes to the games, I enjoyed the first entry in the series, despite the odd camera angle situation where it had fixed angles as if you were watching through CCTV, but that was done due to the limitations of the systems it was on.
I played through parts of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, missed out No.4 because it was only on the Wii at the time, I’d lost track of things when it came to No.5, and then played Resident Evil 6 as it came out on the Xbox 360, but it was a godawful QTE (Quick-Time Event) mess.
Sometime after release, I played a couple of hours of Resident Evil 7, and just the initial demo of Resident Evil Village, which was enough, quite frankly. The gameplay had strayed so far from what made the game originally, although when I tried to go back to the original with the remastered version, I couldn’t get into that, either. Most games have their time.
But back to this series, and with the addition of a bathroom in need of the ‘Homes Under the Hammer‘ redesign treatment, Resident Evil 2022 is daft nonsense, but it’s interesting. How close it is to the original lore, I don’t know, since I don’t recall the stories I’ve seen coming up in the games I’ve played, but I guess like how the Milla Jovovich movies created a brand new character for her, they can just make up stories within the Resident Evil universe. In fact, some of the origin elements in this are new to me, but either they are brand new, or they could be part of the stories of the games I haven’t played. Feel free to correct me in the comments, below, after you’ve watched the series. I’m sure someone will 😉
But for all its sillyness, the gore is nicely done, and given how the game series has gone on ad infinitum, this will probably run for many, many seasons.
The first four episodes have been made available for review, and along the way, it drops in new characters, fleshing out each episode as they go… and sometimes flesh is eaten by zombies (ba-dum-tss!)
I will conclude that although I’m not massively wowed by this, there is enough to make me want to see the rest of the episodes, though. There’s a total of eight in the season.
Thanks to our friends at Netflix for the screener prior to release.
Resident Evil 2022! is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Friday July 8th.
Running time: 60 minutes per episode (8 episodes)
Release date: July 14th 2022
Series Directors: Rachel Goldberg, Rob Seidenglanz, Batan Silva, Bronwen Hughes
Producer: Martin Moszkowicz
Writers: Garett Pereda, Shane Tortolani, Mary Leah Sutton, Lindsey Villarreal, Kerry Williamson, Andrew Dabb, Tara Knight
Music: Gregory Reveret
Jade Wesker: Ella Balinska
Albert Wesker: Lance Reddick
Jade Wesker (2022): Tamara Smart
Billie Wesker (2022): Siena Agudong
Evelyn Marcus: Paola Nuñez
Simon: Connor Gosatti
Susana Franco: Lea Vivier
Felix Mort: Bjorn Steinbach
Yen: Mpho Osei Tutu
Janet: Hanni Heinrich
Dr. Amrita Singh: Ayushi Chhabra
Arj: Ahad Raza Mir
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.