Resident Evil’s writing is messy. I mean, REALLY messy. It always has been. A franchise like Resident Evil thrives by reveling in its messy writing. Because of this, each resident evil project has gotten more and more over the top with its campiness. For fans, it’s been part of the charm. Even the much maligned fifth and sixth game installments are two of the best selling games in the franchise, and they’re the installments where the franchise jumps the shark the most. The Paul Anderson-directed series of films only feed the flames of RE’s bottomless campiness. It’s at the point now that there are fewer focused horror experiences that the franchise built itself upon than the batshit crazy parts. It’s part of the trademark, now. That means schlocky B-Horror gorefests married to pseudo anticapitalist 90’s era villains with a healthy dash of Mission Impossible conspiracies.
Infinite Darkness, unfortunately, follows this trend. Much like the two animated films that take place within the games’ canon and specifically the middle trilogy of games (RE’s 4,5 & 6), the writing is wildly inconsistent and difficult to follow tonally, aesthetically, and linearly. Fan favorite characters like Leon and Claire, are shafted good characterization in place of moving the plot forward and “what just happened?” moments. Claire, badass hardcore Claire, becomes a damsel in distress that Leon literally stumbles into saving, and then at the end of the film chooses a path that makes absolutely no sense. Honestly, it should have done more to increase the scariness factor beyond more than a couple of (admittedly good) scenes and downplayed the conspiracies, focusing on a much more concise, understandable, and linear horror movie plot.
What do I (a longtime fan of the series) recommend when going into Infinite darkness? Already be a fan of the franchise, and turn off your brain once you start. There is no nuance or subtlety to be found here. The writing is as scatterbrained as RE 5 and 6 in their worst moments. The character work is poor, and the plot makes little sense, but the aesthetic design is on point, as well as some excellent animations, lip-syncing aside. The overall writing quality of the miniseries is on par with the two other animated movies and the games, but it results in what amounts to just another meaningless episode in the worldwide web conspiracy in this franchise. It’s still entertaining for longtime fans, but don’t expect anyone to hold it up as the best screen work in the franchise. Also, don’t make this your first introduction to the franchise; it will make even less sense to newbies than it does to veterans.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is now available on Netflix.