Today’s the day Netflix’s futuristic adaptation of Resident Evil hits the streaming service, presenting two timelines for fans to follow across eight episodes. It’s available to watch now, but what do critics make of the show? Well, there doesn’t exactly seem to be a general consensus forming given the review scores we’ve spotted so far. We’ve shared some of them below, but remember you can simply start watching now if you have a Netflix account.
While this might not be the first Resident Evil adaptation, it’s off to a strong start to claim the award for best adaptation we’ve yet seen. That’s not a shot at the beloved movie franchise, but simply a nod to the idea that Netflix’s take feels more at home in the video game world. Its storytelling approach of unfolding the plot at two separate points in time over a decade apart keeps things unique and engaging, while tracking the characters through an impending apocalypse in hopeful future seasons should be thrilling to watch–provided Netflix doesn’t cancel the show as it has a number of other high-profile series (anyone else remember Cowboy Bebop?). In all, Resident Evil is well worth your time and, ultimately, you may be very surprised by how deeply it draws you into its web.
Resident Evil is a zombie caper that knows what it’s here for. And that is to fill the screen with rampaging hordes of undead and to reassure horror fans that there is life after The Walking Dead. Those boxes are ticked in dead impressive fashion.
With the live-action future of the franchise in a state of flux, Resident Evil marks an ambitious new direction to start charting the next phase. Where the latest big-screen installment faltered by looking too hard in the past, Netflix’s entry finds its stride while looking to the future.
It’s tough to say how the series will end up, but there’s a nagging sense through the show’s first four episodes that the show doesn’t have nearly enough kineticism. The same beats get repeated, neither timeline’s emotional journey feels all that tense, and the outbreak as a whole is far too drawn out. A zombie apocalypse stretched out over two timelines shouldn’t feel this overly labored and passé.
The whole thing is shonky. The writing, by necessity, is largely expository and clichéd (“Scientists said the world would end in 2036,” Jade’s opening monologue announces. “But they were wrong: the world ended a long time ago”), though they also find room for some weird asides, courtesy, mainly, of Paola Núñez’s very evil Evelyn Marcus.
Resident Evil as a universe has such a rich history, with decades worth of characters, stories, and mysteries to dive into. Netflix’s Resident Evil does its best to integrate these into a more expansive series but flounders under poor execution, awkward performances, and fan service that rarely works. There’s a great Resident Evil adaptation in here somewhere, but like the zeroes scattered throughout this show, Resident Evil mostly just bites.
Will you be watching the show in the coming days? Let us know in the comments below.