A few years back, it was reported that a television series based on the Resident Evil franchise was in the works. The series, tentatively titled Arklay, was set to be developed by filmmaker Shawn Lebert and produced by Mance Media.
No network was attached to the project, but we do know that the basic story would have followed a detective named James Reinhardt whose investigation into a recent homicide slowly reveals the scientific conspiracy that Racoon City is hiding. At some point, it seems that Reinhardt may have been contaminated by the dreaded T-virus and would have had to find a way to cure himself of the disease.
All of this is in the past tense because the project was ultimately canceled when Mance Media decided to pass on the project for unknown reasons. That was the last we heard of the series until very recently when the test footage used to pitch the show emerged online.
The short, titled Dave, follows the initial moments of James Reinhardt’s investigation into the murder of his brother, Dave. It seems that a lot of the direct ties to the Resident Evil franchise are either not present in this footage or have since been removed sometime during the upload process. However, knowing that this footage is associated with those games does help you connect a few dots along the way.
What’s really interesting about this test footage is how good it is. Granted, it’s pretty rough overall due to the fact that there’s a very good chance none of this footage was really supposed to be released to the public at any point, but you can see the potential of the concept. There’s a haunting tone to the short’s atmosphere that lends it that Walking Dead vibe that the producers originally hinted at when the project was first announced.
It really does make you wonder what went wrong during the creative process and why the show was ultimately canceled. It certainly feels like all of the early pieces were in place at the time that this footage was shot, and we’ve seen far worse creations make their way to television.
There’s a slim chance that the release of this footage may lead to some kind of revival. The format of the show suggests that it might be perfect for a web series if nothing else. In any case, the tone of this short better captures the more dramatic moments of the Resident Evil franchise than most of the Resident Evil movies ever did.
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