The Resident is a new psychological thriller from Hammer Films, the studio behind the classic gothic horror films released from the late fifties to the mid seventies. Oscar winner Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) plays Juliet, a New York doctor who rents a Brooklyn apartment from Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan from Watchmen). Juliet quickly learns her landlord is not all he appears to be.
The Resident has all the makings of a great film. Swank and Morgan are both fine actors, and they are joined by the legendary Christopher Lee, who makes his return to Hammer Films after starring in many of their classic horror films. While their performances are first-rate, the script takes time to develop, so things don’t really get going until the second half of the film. There isn’t enough tension to keep one’s interest early on, even though it does manage to pay off on your expectations later.
The weak link in the film is, surprisingly, Christopher Lee. It isn’t his fault, as the script doesn’t give him much to work with. He still has a commanding presence onscreen, but there is precious little of it here. I was expecting him to have a great scene with Hilary Swank, but it never happened. As Max’s bitter uncle, he and Jeffrey Dean Morgan do have some nice interaction, but you’ll wish there was more.
Juliet’s apartment does provide a nice setting for the film, and at night it provides a creepy backdrop for what transpires. The Resident is a great looking film, and holds the right atmosphere for the storyline, but it does take time for story to play out. The thrills do eventually come, building to a satisfying but abrupt ending.
The Resident is rated R for good reason. The movie does revolve around a peeping tom who becomes obsessed with his fixation, which isn’t a family-friendly subject to begin with. There is some violence, but it isn’t gory, which is surprising considering this is a Hammer film. Language is R-rated, and a few F-bombs are dropped. There is a scene involving female nudity. Considering Hilary Swank was an executive producer, one wonders why she even agreed to it. There is also a disturbing scene in which Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Max pleasures himself, which easily falls in the “didn’t need to see that ever” category. Another scene involving a sexual assault is partially shown and implied.
VIDEO AND AUDIO PRESENTATION
The Blu-ray for The Resident provides an excellent video transfer; colors are rich and deep, especially in dark scenes. The New York exteriors look excellent on the 46 inch HDTV I viewed the movie on. The audio is good for a film with a lot of dialogue. When the movie does reach out and yell “boo,” however, the bass kicks in and startles you.
Only a trailer for the film is included here. It would have been nice to see interviews with the actors, but perhaps Image Entertainment (the distributors of the film) was gearing this release for the rental market by going light on the extras.
OVERALL GRADE: B
The Resident is a decent thriller, but its content is not suitable for anyone under 18. Adults will appreciate the idea of living alone and having the feeling you are being watched, and the thrills in the final confrontation are satisfying. Fans of Christopher Lee and Hammer horror might expect more, but Swank and Morgan make the film a compelling watch for anyone looking for late night thrills.
The Resident is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, and can be purchased in stores and online.