After relaunching Kate Bush’s career with Stranger Things, Netflix hopes for its next round to revive not one but two moribund genres. The first is the post-apocalyptic zombie thriller – a medium that peaked with the first season of The Walking Dead, then leveled off with each subsequent season of The Walking Dead (that putrid smell wasn’t the zombies, it was). was the script).
The second challenge faced by Netflix resident Evil – based on the acclaimed console franchise – is about turning a cult video game into a gripping drama. Many have tried and most have failed. The solution offered by this eight-part series is to ignore the source material almost entirely – some of the characters share their names with protagonists from the games but that’s about it – and embark on its own trajectory (an entirely unrelated to the popular Resident Evil movies starring Milla Jovovich).
The destination he arrives at is B-movie nirvana. There are plenty of ravenous zombies — technically humans whipped into a killing frenzy by a lab-made virus. And the macabre excitement is topped off with a delightful opening scene in which heroine Jade (Ella Balinska) flees from a rotting giant spider while trying to cross the English Channel from Dover to Calais.
In other words, it’s ridiculously ridiculous – and great fun for those who like to turn off their gray matter before pulling themselves onto the couch. It’s also far more charming than Zack Snyder’s hefty Army of the Dead, which hissed and huffed on Netflix in 2021 before sinking without a trace (although spinoffs are in jeopardy).
Still, while essentially brain dead with a vengeance, Resident Evil shows glimmers of intelligence around the edges. The action is split in two, with parts set around Dover and Calais recycling the unrelenting sadness of Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 dystopian classic Children of Men. However, the emotional heart of the story takes place two decades before in the fictional town of Racoon City in South Africa.