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Netflix’s ‘Resident Evil’ Provides a Surprising Dose of Originality

Many adaptations have already been released, but do not be deterred from watching this one — it is the strongest one yet.
August 4, 2022
6 mins read

I know what you’re thinking — “Wow, another ‘Resident Evil’ adaptation is just what we need.” But this Netflix series is the strongest adaptation yet. The series came out on July 14, and right away, we can see that it did not follow the same path as the other adaptations. For context, the “Resident Evil” series is based on a popular video game of the same name that came out in 1996.

Background on the Video Game and Movie Adaptations

1996: The Resident Evil video game came out, and its plot was particularly chilling. When a series of bizarre murders occur on the outskirts of the fictional Midwestern town of Raccoon City on July 24, 1998, the Raccoon City Police Department’s S.T.A.R.S. team is assigned to investigate. After contact with the Bravo Team is lost, the Alpha Team is sent to investigate their disappearance.

2002: The first “Resident Evil” movie came out. Two leaders of a commando team must break into “the hive,” a vast underground genetics laboratory operated by Umbrella. A deadly virus is unleashed, and the lab personnel die and then come back to life. The team has three hours to shut down the lab’s supercomputer and close the facility before the virus threatens to overrun the Earth.

2004: The action horror film “Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse” was released. The virus spreads into the city and has been sealed off. The characters must find a scientist who can help.

2007: The film “Resident Evil: Extinction” came out. The main character, Alice, receives genetic alterations that leave her with superhuman abilities. Hiding out in the Nevada desert, she joins forces with former cohorts Carlos and L.J. as well as new survivors Claire, K-Mart and Nurse Betty to eradicate the virus that threatens to turn every human into a zombie.

2010: “Resident Evil: Afterlife” was released. The group runs into survivors along the way and heads to Los Angeles, where there is rumored to be a sanctuary. However, they quickly find out that it was all a trap.

2012: “Resident Evil: Retribution” came out. Alice awakens deep within Umbrella’s secret operations facility. Aided by friends, Alice fights to escape from a world on the edge of oblivion.

2016: “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” was released. The T-virus that Umbrella released has spread to every part of the world, infesting it with zombies, demons and monsters. Alice and her friends must storm the company’s headquarters located deep underneath what used to be Raccoon City. Whether they succeed or not will determine if mankind lives or dies.

The Plot of Netflix’s “Resident Evil”

According to Cinemablend, “The basic plot takes place between two timelines, one in 2022, where the Wesker family (Albert Wesker, his daughter Billie and his oldest daughter Jade) moves to a place called ‘New Raccoon City’ (a nod toward the original game), with their father and his Umbrella corporation hiding dark secrets — and then flashes forward to 2036, where the eldest, Jade, attempts to survive in a post-apocalyptic world in the years after a deadly pandemic.” While the movies try to stay true to the video game plot, the series focuses more on Umbrella and its experiments.

“Resident Evil” Is Short

There are only eight episodes in Season 1, so if you don’t like shows that have 20+ episodes, then this is the show for you. Most of the episodes are 40-50 minutes long. Only the premiere episode and the finale are over an hour — which is expected at this point when it comes to streaming shows.

The Adaptation Met all of its Goals

According to IGN, the goal of all adaptations is “to tell an original story within a universe that’s already popularized, utilizing what current fanbases adore while reeling in fresh viewers with comprehensible origins.” The show is original in that it focuses mostly on Albert’s backstory as well as two separate points in time (2022 and 2036).

There Is Some Comedy Mixed In

“Resident Evil” can be considered a horror series, and in my opinion, comedy and horror mix well together. It is always fun to watch something scary but still get comedic relief. There is certainly some twisted humor that people who like dark humor can appreciate.

You Don’t Need To Know Much About “Resident Evil” and the Other Adaptations

The series does a great job explaining who Umbrella is, what the virus is and does to people, and what different zombies and monsters there are. Overall, I really enjoyed this series and highly recommend it to anyone who loves zombie movies or shows.

Morgan Thomas, Wayne State University

Writer Profile

Morgan Thomas

Wayne State University
Print and Online Journalism

My name is Morgan Thomas and I am a senior at Wayne State University. I am majoring in print and online journalism and I have a minor in film.

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