Resident Evil review: A binge-worthy adaptation that subsists on a diet of blood and gore

Lance Reddick in Resident Evil (Image via IMDb)
Lance Reddick in Resident Evil (Image via IMDb)

Netflix's Resident Evil is the ninth live-action adaptation of Capcom's video game series of the same name. Developed by Andrew Dabb, the first season of the series was released on the streaming platform on July 14, 2022.

With eight episodes of approximately one hour duration each, the latest adaptation makes for a perfect weekend binge for horror and gore lovers. While the Netflix series takes place in its own original universe, it does tap into the game series storyline for backstory and premise.

The show's ensemble cast is led by Lance Reddick, who is the first person of color to play Albert Wesker, followed by Ella Balinska and Adeline Rudolph, who portray the Wesker twins. Other members of the cast include Paola Núñez, Ahad Raza Mir, Connor Gosatti, Mpho Osei Tutu, and Anthony Oseyemi. The plot of Resident Evil is split between two timelines 14 years apart.


2036 is the present day timeline, where the retroviral bioweapon T-virus has almost eradicated humans, while 2022 is the past where 14-year-old twins Billie and Jade began uncovering Umbrella Corporation's dark secrets.

Continue reading for a full review of the action-horror television adaptation of the popular video game series.

Resident Evil has an intriguing plot and strategically placed cliffhangers that keep you hooked

New Raccoon City is where at least half of the series unfolds and viewers are introduced to teenage twins Billie and Jade, in 2022, who were conceived under mysterious circumstances. Their father and the video game series' main villain Albert Wesker is also a central focus of the show.

Over the course of eight episodes, the Resident Evil plot thickens in intrigue and manages to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with jumbled timelines and mindless, sanguinary action. In the 2036 timeline, viewers follow an older Jade looking for a cure for the ever-growing deadly epidemic caused by the T-virus that had so far turned 6 billion humans into Zeroes (zombies).

The story makes several nods to the video game while retaining its originality. While deeply committed players of the video game series might find it entertaining to binge the show, less engaged fans and viewers who aren't familiar with the plot might find it challenging to watch. However, those who like watching shows containing excessive horror and gore elements might enjoy the adaptation for just that.

Without giving away too much, the series alternates between the two timelines and features different threats comprising of bloodthirsty packs of zombies or an evil megacorporation called Umbrella, or still others that come in the form of transformed characters. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, inevitably making viewers unable to take their eyes off the screen as they hunger for more.

Brilliant casting and improved CGI make Resident Evil save the television adaptation

The plot and writing of the Netflix adaptation does at times make the characters appear foolish in their decisions and actions. The series' focus on thoughtless gore and bloodshed also saves viewers from making any investments into the characters. It's quite possible that Resident Evil will not have you caring about the characters and simply focusing on the zombie fun.

Netflix's Resident Evil has better CGI and special effects compared to other live-action adaptations. The scares are not consistent but the Zeroes and other enemies are terrifying enough to make you wince occasionally.

However, the actors who are playing the characters are excellent and convincing, especially Reddick as Albert Wesker. As video game fans would know it's the not the same Albert who, according to the games, died in 2009. The series does provide an explanation for Wesker's presence and Lance Reddick does a phenomenal job at executing it.

Paola Nuñez's evil and conniving Evelyn Marcus also stood out in the show. As the CEO of Umbrella Corporation, Evelyn is ambitious and power-hungry and willing to go to any lengths to see the corporation thrive. Núñez's performance as she tapped into Evelyn was a delight to watch.

Ella Ballinska and Tamara Smart, who portrayed older and teenage Jade respectively, also elevated Jade's characteristics. Meanwhile, Siena Agudong convincingly portrayed an infected Billie, who was mired in the ensuing chaos and violence.

Catch all eight episodes of Resident Evil Season 1 on Netflix for a solid adaptation of Capcom's video game franchise that delivers on its horror elements.

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Edited by Babylona Bora
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