Get ready for something even wackier than Paul W.S. Anderson
Did you come across a preview for the upcoming Resident Evil: Death Island that got you all hyped? Well, we have great news, then. It turns out Capcom has already made many other Resident Evil animated movies in the past…
…And most of them are so beyond bonkers that even fans of the games wouldn’t believe it.
Biohazard 4D-Executer (2000)
The first attempt at a Resident Evil animated project is Biohazard 4D-Executer, a name only an exec completely drunk on that sweet ’00s juice would pick. You can tell Capcom doesn’t care much for it because you can find it on many Youtube channels in its entirety. The CGI 20-minute short feels more like an experiment than a full-blown attempt. It doesn’t really prime for its animation and you could say it barely rivals the cutscenes from Resident Evil 3. It did, however, mark the beginning of a weird era.
Strong points: Historically important. This is the patient zero of Resident Evil movies. This is the one we have to go back in time to prevent from happening if we don’t want to see Milla Jovovich running on walls to roundhouse-kick zombie dogs. Also, it’s a relatively original tale in the world of Resident Evil that won’t bother anyone for too long.
Biohazard 4: Incubate (2006)
Incubate still isn’t Capcom’s first Resident Evil animated feature film, but it’s yet another interesting experiment. Following up on the massive success of Resident Evil 4, Capcom released this straight-to-DVD compilation of RE4 cutscenes featuring added explainers of what happened in that village prior to the arrival of Leon S. Kennedy.
Strong points: The animation rivals that of its contemporary RE game, but only because it’s straight-up a bunch of RE4 cutscenes.
Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)
The 2008 release Resident Evil: Degeneration marks the start of Capcom’s attempt at taking over the crowded CGI Zombie movie market. It takes place between RE4 and RE5 and, though fans might not recognize it as canon, it’s the one that explains where Tricell (Resident Evil 5’s Nu-Umbrella) came from.
Strong points: Degeneration represents the best and worst when it comes to animated Resident Evil. On the one hand, it’s the most sober approach to the genre. On the other, it doesn’t feature amazing animation and, more importantly, it’s not silly enough. More on that later.
Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)
What lies at the core of the success of the Resident Evil games? We’d bet on the surprisingly cerebral gameplay that lies hiding beneath a supremely dense layer of camp. This probably won’t come as a surprise, but the movies don’t feature any sort of gameplay. Capcom seemingly decided to make up for that by tripling the amount of camp.
Damnation came out in 2012 and bridges the events between RE 5 and RE 6. It’s a step up from Damnation because it features much better animation and also because this is when things begin to get ridiculous.
Forget the days of survival horror. The Marvel Cinematic Universe ruled the world in 2012, so it’s high time that you saw a Chris Redfield stand in leading an army of Lickers against the Tyrant in broad daylight. No, really:
Strong points: They tried something new.
Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017)
You could base an entire mental health check solely on someone’s response to 2017’s Resident Evil: Vendetta. Loathe it and you’re healthy, Love it and you’re awesome.*
This one takes place between RE 6 and RE 7, but instead of creating the expected bridge to the seventh installment, it takes a detour to Rabid Racoon City. Remember all those times when Resident Evil 6 was just too much? Well, Vendetta feels like Resident Evil 6 2.
Whereas Damnation tried to emulate the MCU, Vendetta needed desperately to be John Wick on steroids — down to the number of dogs killed in the process.
People who complained that the series veered too much into action territory after Resident Evil 4 shouldn’t watch this one for their own sake. Each set piece is bigger and dumber than the previous one.
Strong points: An experience so bafflingly special you’ll think no one will believe you if you try to put it into words. That’s why we mostly used videos.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021)
Infinite Darkness came out between 7 and Village but nobody cares because this continues Leon’s story.
Netflix’s 2021 RE: Infinite Darkness is the complete antithesis to 4-D Executer, Capcom’s first animated RE thing. It features top-notch rendering and animation but holy crap, does it overstay its welcome. Whereas viewers can just suffer through the entirety of 4-D Executer in 20 minutes, Infinite Darkness is a four-part tv series.
Dividing what should be a 90-minute film into four parts feels reductive. Also, even at its best, Infinite Darkness never even comes close to the entertainment value of Vendetta. Yes, it does provide a much more sober experience than Vendetta, but we no longer want to turn that train around.
Strong Points: Looks good and provides one more Netflix show to talk crap about.
*Don’t use the Resident Evil series as a way to check up on someone’s mental health.