Netflix’s Resident Evil series has one of the lowest audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. The lowest for any Netflix original, the score is currently at a devastatingly low 25% which is much less than the 51% critical classification. The action horror is the latest adaptation of Capcom’s video game franchise, following Paul W. S. Anderson’s six films and Johannes Roberts’ 2021 reboot movie, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. While the new show is set in a different universe from the source material and previous adaptations, a few of the games’ plotlines serve as the backdrop for the story.
Developed for Netflix by Andrew Dabb, Resident Evil features an ensemble cast led by Lance Reddick as the clones of Albert Wesker. Ella Balinska and Adeline Rudolph star as his adoptive daughters, Jade and Billie Wesker. Tamara Smart and Siena Agudong portray younger versions of these characters, while Paola Núñez appears as James Marcus’s daughter Evelyn. Along with writing and directing the series, Dabb serves as executive producer with Mary Leah Sutton. Robert Kulzer and Oliver Berben of Constantin Film are also producing.
Set in 2036, Netflix’s Resident Evil begins more than a decade after a deadly virus caused a global apocalypse. At the center of the crisis is Jade Wesker, who vows to bring down those responsible while fighting to survive a world overrun by blood-thirsty infected creatures. In the middle of this carnage, she is haunted by her past in New Raccoon City and her father’s chilling connections to the Umbrella Corporation. But mostly, Jade can’t reconcile what happened to her sister Billie. The plot alternates between two timelines.
The first story in the Netflix Resident Evil series follows Jade and Billie Wesker during their days in New Raccoon City where they discover their father’s dark secrets. Unaware of his daughters’ findings, Albert Wesker coordinates a response to the outbreak of a retroviral bioweapon called T-virus. The second takes place in the present, where the virus has reduced human civilization to 300 million refugees living in walled city-states surrounded by the six billion “zeroes” who contracted the disease and became roaming gangs of cannibal mutants. This is where Jade tries to survive as the Umbrella Corporation tries to hunt her down.
Following a creative marketing campaign from Netflix that included Resident Evil monsters jumping out of 3D billboards, the series debuted on July 14th. While critics’ reactions were mixed, there was some praise for the show’s faithfulness to the video games. However, the narrative inconsistencies, lack of inventiveness, uninspired writing, slow pacing, and young adult clichés were maligned. And, judging from the super low score, viewers don’t care for the series either. But this shouldn’t discourage folks from checking. An audience score isn’t the most reliable measure of quality, since anyone can add one even if they haven’t watched a single episode.
Since its release in 1996, Resident Evil has become one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time with more than 100 million units sold worldwide. Created for Sony PlayStation by Shinji Mikami and Tokuro Fujiwara, the series consists of survival horror, third-person shooter, and first-person shooter games. It is credited for defining the genre and returning zombies to pop culture. Netflix began development for its Resident Evil series in 2019 with Constantin Film. Consisting of eight hour-long episodes, the series is currently available to watch on the platform.