THE GRAY FOX BLOG: “Thoughts on New Resident Evil Series, and a New Entry to the Nightmare Deck”

I went into the new Resident Evil series with a modest expectation for what I’d think of it. The new Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was disappointing, but, compared to the earlier films, far more faithful to the actual look and feel of Resident Evil. It borrowed heavily from Resident Evil 2, but ended up landing a little flat by the end. This new series, however, failed to check off any of the boxes I had for it. I haven’t written a review for it and I won’t write a review for it, which isn’t a denouement of where it ultimately lands (I only watched a single episode, after all), but my way of saying I don’t wish to partake any further.

I had heard criticisms about the series early on. I had also heard some media outlets offering praise on its behalf. The praise I heard largely had to do with Lance Riddick‘s portrayal of a very different Albert Wesker, whereas the criticism I heard largely referred to the series as ‘woke’. For that, I see what they both mean. Lance Riddick nails it more often than not, offering calm intensity through a cool, smoky voice. He isn’t the problem. Firstly, I’ll say I hate the expression ‘woke’ to describe this particular criticism. It feels too vague and nondescript. When you say ‘woke’, what are you referring to?

That Albert Wesker is portrayed by a black man? I don’t mind that. I like Lance Riddick and hope one day he finds a real good Gus Fring / Hannibal Lector role that he can sink his teeth into. No, it isn’t any particular casting decision. Instead, I equate it less to ‘woke’-ness and more to something much older in TV and cinema, it’s pandering and cliched. Whether it be the over-the-top high school bullies, or the way it makes sure to wedge a character’s brief rant about everyone in today’s society “needing a trophy”, it feels so try hard.

I absolutely believe we could do for more inclusion in entertainment, but I also feel like so few shows know how actually to do that.

Hypothetically, let’s say they decided to make Leon from Resident Evil gay, what would the ramifications of that be on the series overall? Insignificant. Other than, kind-of, sort-of, Ada Wong, Leon has never had a romantic relationship with anybody at all. Likewise, if we made Leon black, that wouldn’t change things very much either. However, you absolutely know it would become a major plot point if it were done in a show like this. We’d spend half the season making a half-baked allegory about police brutality and how the masses are zombies, unaware of it all.

I’m not saying someone shouldn’t make a zombie series like that. I’m not even saying it couldn’t be Resident Evil. However, if you’re going to do it, you need a pretty blank canvas to work off of. Your desire to say something else will be at war with your obligation to make that something also feel like Resident Evil, and then, neither of those will succeed.

But I digress.

Onto The Nightmare Deck….

For this edition, I decided to include some of the more recent reviews I’ve written in recent days (of which, there are a scarce amount). I have had my hands in a lot of cookie jars this last year and I am sad to see the way the Nightmare Shift has taken the brunt of it all. Honestly, it’s all a lot of different things.

I’m trying to run Die Die Retry (a videogame review site) and Nightmare Shift, which, in itself, isn’t impossible. I’ve been playing more videogames than watching movies lately, however (I usually play them with my wife – who can only stomach so many horror movies). I’ve also been working on a slew of other projects.

Readers Digested, Vol. 1 (a collection of horror stories written by myself and others) is set to release soon, then, straight onto Readers Digested, Vol. 2. So, I have to edit and format them. Likewise, I’m trying to write the fourth installment of The Canes series (a mystery series I write with my brother Scott), a young-adult fantasy with my wife called Cotton: The Spinster’s Daughter, and, finally, the next book in my fantasy series The Red Flux. I’m trying to keep Mishmashers.com relevant, while, also, working on the next phase of its succession.

Then, in the real world, I still have a day job I allocate 50 hours of my life to everyday (and a lawn that needs mowed).

This is a more interesting edition of the Gray Fox than any prior, I feel. It has a lot of everything to it.

On the bottom, you have Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Which I didn’t hate, per se. I had originally written the review in hopes of writing a slew of other Troma films, but that never came together. Instead, the single film is the only bit of Lloyd Kaufman schlock I’ve reviewed on the Nightmare Shift. It’s goofy and a bit of a mess, but it isn’t without some charm as well.

There are also a collection of slasher films like the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scream reboots, as well as original fare like The Last Matinee and X.

Of them, of course, the newest Scream is the one I recommend most.

As excited as I was for X upon release, I felt like I was really letdown by it.

Meanwhile, I expected nothing from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which allowed me to be pleasantly surprised. I ended up having X ahead of Texas Chainsaw simply because I felt it had a little more uniqueness to it than the millionth installment in a series with far more bad than good.

The Last Matinee, I simply didn’t enjoy very much.

The Final and Resolution are both films I would recommend, for certain. Resolution has been recipient of a little more love than The Final, which I never here talked about. I actually enjoyed The Final more, I think. But, to be honest, I also feel like you have to watch Resolution back-to-back with The Endless to feel like you’ve gotten the most out of it.

The Wind is a well-made film. I’m a modest fan of Caitlyn Gerard (like her in Zach Stone’s Gonna Be Famous) and I found that this is the first film I’ve seen of hers that allows her to show off major, real acting chops. It isn’t exactly a page-turner, and I think the expression “arthouse film” might be appropriate, but it is a decent film.

Edge of the Knife is a modest film. It is a familiar storyline we’ve all heard prior (or something close to it), but what really makes it special is the background behind its creation. The film is the first to be spoken only in the Haida language and is a retelling of a classic Haida story. The film came to exist in an effort to encourage people to learn Haida, an endangered language with fewer than twenty actual speakers at the time of the film’s production. The film’s acting is a little ‘off’, considering the actors are speaking a language they don’t actually speak (they are not among the twenty), but it succeeds in other ways, like its commitment to the story.

At last, we have Hereditary topping the chart and finding itself inducting into the Nightmare Deck!

When I watched this film, I was taken aback by its eccentricities and peculiarities. It is one of the few films where I watched it, and then, the next day, I felt compelled to watch it again. The film begins the promising career of Ari Aster, who has since released the also good Midsommar. I would highly recommend it. Welcome Hereditary to the Nightmare Deck! (ratio – 2:30)

1.) Hereditary (originally published September 20th, 2022)

2.) Scream (originally published March 2nd, 2022)

3.) The Final (originally published October 29th, 2020)

4.) Resolution (originally published February 22nd, 2022)

5.) The Wind (originally published February 27th, 2022)

6.) Edge of the Knife (originally published January 24th, 2022)

7.) X (originally published May 26th, 2022)

8.) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (originally published February 18th, 2022)

9.) The Last Matinee (originally published January 16th, 2022)

10.) Class of Nuke ‘Em High (originally published February 2nd, 2022)

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