Netflix’s Resident Evil Misses The Franchise’s Best Secret (Again)

The massive hordes of zombies in Netflix’s Resident Evil trailer prove the movie misses the franchise’s main appeal: its enclosed, isolated setting.

Netflix’s new Resident Evil movie once again misses the point of the series, resulting in another zombie apocalypse movie that doesn’t take advantage of the twist that made the games unique. There are a lot of ways to tell a typical zombie story, which complicated the set up for the Resident Evil movie. There is a glut of post-apocalyptic zombie movies, wherein the heroes struggle to survive in a world where society has already been destroyed by an undead plague. There is also a slew of zombie movies that center on the initial apocalyptic event, as well as movies that split the difference, like Zack Snyder’s Army of the Deadby depicting a stage where one region is overrun with the undead, but the rest of the world is thus far uncontaminated.


With so many zombie movies fitting these categories, it is tricky for a franchise to reinvent the sub-genre in an original way. However, that is exactly what the original Resident Evil games managed, making them huge hits with gamers and critics alike. The trick that made Resident Evil so successful as a franchise (early on) was limiting the setting of the zombie stories, with the protagonist being trapped in an enclosed location with zombies before they escaped containment.

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What made Resident Evil stand out in a crowded field of zombie franchises was the contained nature of the threat. Unfortunately, Netflix’s upcoming Resident Evil movie sees the series once again ignore this setup. The games (and their first movie adaptation) kept the zombie threat contained to a lone, locked-down location like the Hive and the Spencer Mansion, meaning the hero was one of the only people fighting for survival against a secret threat that had not yet been unleashed on the world. Once the zombie outbreak occurred (and later extended outside of a small self-contained region like Raccoon City), the Resident Evil series becomes just another post-apocalyptic zombie story with none of this unique, “closed circle mystery” atmosphere.

Netflixs Resident Evil A Sequel To Welcome To Raccoon City

Judging by the scale of action on display in the trailer for Netflix’s Resident Evil movie, the franchise will not be reversing this trend in its latest live-action incarnation. Even though horror video games are ideal for movie adaptations precisely because the cinematic genre allows players and viewers alike to experience terror firsthand, the Resident Evil series has once again squandered this promising setup by letting the monsters out of their enclosure and making the threat far too large in scope. With its entire world seemingly overrun by zombies, Netflix’s Resident Evil is just another conventional zombie movie rather than a small-scale, suspense-driven, lone-location horror story like the early games.

The Resident Evil Movies made use of the video game’s original contained zombie siege story in the first movie, but since moved away from this approach for a less memorable post-apocalyptic zombie plot. While Netflix’s Resident Evil promises classic monsters and new characters, the reboot isn’t fixing this major issue and, as such, is likely to be plagued by the same problem as later sequels to the original movie. In a world overrun with zombie movies, Resident Evil needed to be a smaller-scale story to recreate the feelings of the games, proving that bigger isn’t always better in the case of adaptations.

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