Welcome to New Raccoon Town

Welcome to New Raccoon Town

demonic resident

Welcome to New Raccoon Town

Season 1

Episode 1

Publisher Rating

3 star

Photo: Netflix/YouTube

Apocalypse or post-apocalypse? Prequel or start running? Action or horror? These are some of the questions that the new demonic resident The TV series on Netflix answers with a resounding “why not both?” The zombie-centric video game franchise has spawned a series of live-action films, a series of animated direct-to-video films, and a few erratically released comics; now, it’s attempting something more narratively ambitious than either film, at least, going back and forth between 2022, shortly before a worldwide zombie plague decimated humanity, and 2036, when the world population has been greatly reduced, although the zombie population remains. robust.

In some ways, this isn’t that different from the arc of the movies, which went from a mostly contained virus outbreak to a poor man’s Mad Max over the course of six movies and 15 years. But most of those movies take place in some wasteland, to the point where the show that begins in 2036, “14 years after the end,” feels comfortingly familiar. Jade (Ella Balinska), like Milla Jovovich’s Alice before her, travels this ruined world alone, though she never fires two pistols as she leaps through the air. She has the obedient vibe of 12 monkeys– sampling style on a dead surface, keeping your ear literally glued to the ground to be aware of your surroundings. But she is actually observing “zeros”, the main carriers of the T-Virus who are not, as he later points out, the undead. Their brains are “rewired” to feed and spread the virus, and while the echoes of COVID-19 here are faint, the clearest comes with Jade’s verbal hope that “if we’re lucky, it will get weaker,” and those infected with the virus will evolve. (In the past demonic residents, those evolutions have not been especially lucky. Nor, now that I think about it, have the evolutions of the virus that we have experienced so far.) Meanwhile, it only takes a single bunny to activate the senses of a horde of rampaging zombies.

As bad as it looks, there’s a surprising undercurrent of domesticity as Jade video chats with her family, promising that she’ll be careful and come home soon, a far cry from the hopelessness of the movies. The real jolt comes when the premiere jumps back in time, when a teenage Jade (Jada Smart), her sister Billie (Siena Agudong), and their father, Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick), arrive in New Raccoon City, a sort of of a planned community, bathed in dazzling white tones, built around the South African outpost of the Umbrella Corporation, a pharmaceutical giant working on a drug called Joy. The surname of the Weskers will set off the alarms of anything demonic resident series: Albert Wesker is a major villain in both the games and the movies, which squares with the fact that the wonderful Lance Reddick is probably better known for his gender than for his work playing sensitive parents.

At first, Wesker seems a little overwhelmed by his family situation: Jade, the more contentious of the two sisters, resists everything about his move, while Billie (who shares her given name and a general sense of style with the current musical superstar) struggles with a checkered past related to her anger issues, which Jade seems determined to prompt her to express more directly. But when Wesker is called in for a conference at school after Billie is accused of taking violent revenge on her new bully, he wields the power of his Umbrella Corporation status, quietly threatening to ruin the bully’s father’s life and extracting a health day” for Billie. He comes across as a nerd (his daughters recite a list of his affable attributes), but he’s a much more polished form of menace than the cartoonish Smith from…Matrix form it took in the movies.

In 2036, Jade has been detected and chased by a horde of zombies before she burns them with a ring of real fire, and accidentally awakens a beautiful, hideous giant caterpillar-like creature with the colors of the rainbow, resulting in one of those fantastic shots in which the camera follows the cracked (or in this case, busted) ground as it chases a running protagonist. Jade does not escape the beast; she is knocked out, then saved at the last minute by a gang of scavengers, who airlift her from destroyed London to a base they have established in Brighton. There, they trade some exposure, take a look at the hordes of zombies outside their walls, and wait for Umbrella to show up because it turns out that Jade has a bounty on her head, and the scavengers are out to collect. It’s the loss of her: Umbrella unceremoniously rampages through the entire group, with her honcho head (which looks a bit like a young Peter Jackson, though not quite). Living Dead-was young) cornering Jade. She is forced to go to the Full Jovovich: she jumps off an impossibly high ledge into a sea of ​​zombies below her. In a show of real bravado, the episode cuts to black with her on the air.

But that may not even be the biggest cliffhanger at stake for this first episode. Before Jade jumps, she is informed that her sister has been looking for her. This is something of a twist, as the flashback sequence above concludes with Billie looking dead: motionless, wide-eyed, after being attacked by a vicious, gunky dog ​​(the kind Milla Jovovich kicked in the face with the strains of nu-metal in those demonic resident trailers way back in 2002). Billie and Jade meet the dog after breaking into Umbrella; Billie saw signs of animal testing at the company during lunch with her dad, which ignited her vegan righteous self (and Jade’s general desire to fuck her up). Given the source of her apparently fatal dog bite, perhaps Billie’s brain is simply rewiring, or perhaps the biweekly blood tests administered by Wesker aren’t as purely preventative as they seem.

Whatever happens here, it’s a dynamic that feels distinct from the film series, where a rotating cast of supporting soldiers, freedom fighters, clones, and traitors would support Alice as she became a lone action hero. (will this resident emo in comparison?) Nor is it the horror angle offered by the recent Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. If a TV series version of demonic resident less than a year after an unrelated movie reboot seems a bit like hedging bets, it’s probably in the same way various DC Comics characters have existed in separate TV and movie versions for the past decade. “The world ended a long time ago,” Jade muses in her opening narration. It only makes sense to see some variations on Umbrella’s strategy; Corporate interests always have a lot of doomsday ideas up their sleeves.

• Confession: I am not a great player and I have never played a demonic resident videogame. But I’m a huge movie fan, and while I’m not much into storytelling, I think this stuff has been a strong vehicle for style, whether it’s Paul WS Anderson’s geometric mazes or the surprisingly colorful zip. from the director of the first episode Bronwen Hughes, whose eclectic resume also includes the Harriet the spy movie, kids in the hallway filmed segments and a variety of modern television episodes including Better call Saul, hawaii five-0And in his case, The Walking Dead.

• If this series really wanted to pay homage to the Paul WS Anderson movies, the shot of Jade jumping into the zombie fight would be followed by a second episode that begins with Jade quickly finishing off a mostly off-screen zombie battle and being relocated to a nondescript place. bunker surrounded by additional zombies.

• Bad CG creatures come and go; for a TV show, demonic resident it has some pretty decent giant bug action. But the holy trinity of CG evil (fire, blood, and vomit) is forever. Here, what really stands out is the bad computer-generated fire.

• Jade tries to shock her Umbrella supervisor by saying that she “mostly only reads Zootopia porn,” while Wesker threatens an Umbrella programmer that if he gets blacklisted, even Pornhub will destroy his resume. Lots of characters in this gated Umbrella community thinking about porn! (Yes, I guess that tracks.)

• So rare for someone in a demonic resident universe to be video chatting with someone who doesn’t insist, “you’re all going to die here.”

• The addition of “New” still can’t make “Raccoon City” sound like a real city would be called.

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