Netflix is about to unleash the zombies of Resident Evil in a brand new CG anime series, Infinite Darkness. While short, it’s a series fans are sure to enjoy.
We all know I’m a big weenie when it comes to horror (movies or games), but for some reason, I’m a sucker for anything zombie related. As such, I’ve always kept an eye on the Resident Evil franchise and enjoyed its (sometimes overly complicated) lore quite a bit. As such, I was definitely eager to see what an all new story, told via animated series, would bring to the franchise.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness
Directed By: Eiichirō Hasumi
Written By: Hiroyuki Kobayashi
Starring: Nick Apostolides, Stephanie Panisello, Jona Xiao, Ray Chase
Release Date: July 8, 2021 on Netflix
Thankfully, Netflix gave me the chance to give the series a gander ahead of its release and I can tell you more about what to expect. I’ll be avoiding spoilers for the most part (nothing that hasn’t already been shown in trailers before), so feel free to read without fear of having all the secrets divulged.
The story itself is set in the time period between the games Resident Evil 4 and 5. As you’ve seen from the trailers, it brings back beloved RE characters, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Leon, still the golden boy after rescuing the President’s daughter is assigned to a task force of other special agents. Their job is to figure out what’s going on with an unexpected cyberattack within the halls of the White House itself.
Claire, meanwhile is on a mission to help the citizens of Penamstan, a war-torn country recovering from a devastating Civil War six years earlier (which is technically where the show kicks off). When she comes across a terrifying drawing from a young survivor that looks suspiciously like the zombie outbreak she’s dealt with in the past, Claire heads back to the States for answers.
It’s there she runs into Leon, who is dealing with some unexpected zombie trouble of his own. His investigation into a simple hacking attack has changed when zombies unexpectedly breakout inside the White House, putting the President and everyone else at risk.
Two outbreaks similar to Raccoon City is too much of a coincidence, putting Leon and Claire in a desperate race for answers (each in their own ways). What they find could be more dangerous, with further reaching consequences, than anything they’ve dealt with before.
There are a handful of new characters in the show as well, but considering the series is only four episodes long, I won’t dive into them too much. Mostly because learning about those characters is a major part of how the story progresses.
Things jump back and forth between the past (and the incident at Penamstan) and the present time with Leon and his task force trying to learn what’s happened. It’s a neat way of telling the story that felt a little jarring at first, but by the time the final revelations came about, really brought about an “aha!” type of moment.
That said, I would strongly encourage you to binge-watch this one. I mean, it’s only four-episodes, each about 25 minutes long. To be honest, I’m not sure the “series” format really works for it. It felt more like a movie cut into parts. If this were something to come out weekly, I think it would get confusing or feel a bit off. All at once—like a movie—however, it works really well.
Being Resident Evil, there’s plenty of things for fans of the franchise to enjoy. There’s blood and guts aplenty, several great action moments, and a ton of Easter eggs and nods to the games that make it feel like you’re viewing an essential piece of the overall story. I enjoyed that aspect quite a bit, though I wonder how more casual viewers might feel about it.
Infinite Darkness is enough of a self-contained story, that it can work on its own and there’s plenty of great zombie action (like a heart-pounding sequence involving infected rats) to keep everyone entertained. Certain elements, however, might be a bit confusing if you don’t have more context from the game lore to help out. In all, however, this feels like something of a minor issue. I mean, it’s not like I’m the biggest Resident Evil nerd (more casual than anything) and I was able to understand most of the references.
The animation is sleek (some uncanny valley moments with the characters, but the overall designs are stunning), and the voice work does an excellent job of selling you on the characters and story. It really felt like you’re watching a Resident Evil game’s story. Sure, there are some cheesy moments, but there’s no denying the attention to detail that went into the technical aspects of Infinite Darkness.
While formatting it as a show, especially a super short series with only four episodes, seemed like an odd choice, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is still worth watching. It kicks things off with a bang, and filled with all manner of great zombie action that fans of the genre will be thrilled to see. Some audiences might not keep up with everything from the games, but long-time fans will certainly get a thrill seeing all the connections.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness debuts on Netflix on July 8, 2021.