Director – Antti Jokinen
Cast – Hillary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lee Pace, Christopher Lee, Aunjanue Ellis, Sean Rosales
Release Year -2011
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I really had no interest in watching this, but given all I have done lately is watch horror films at least a decade old, I figured it was time that I gave some modern day horror a shot, and this Hammer Films produced Hollywood effort left me very much unimpressed as usual. The storyline is OK, and the film is very well shot, however things get silly once things get going, and the end result is just another boring Hollywood-esque feature delving into numerous non-respectable cliches.
When young ER doctor Juliet Devereau(Hillary Swank; The Gift, The Reaping) finds a spacious, newly-renovated apartment with a great view and a great price, she is elated to move in and get on with her life after recent relationship troubles, and the handsome young owner of the building, Max(Jeffrey Dean Morgan; Watchmen, The Losers, Dead & Breakfast) is just icing on the cake for her. However, when she begins to suffer odd and unexplainable occurrences around her apartment, her investigation leads her to a stunning revelation regarding Max’s frightening obsession with her.
This may sound surprising to you, but I had hopes of enjoying this one. The fact that The Resident was only given a limited release lead me to think that this could be a good watch given most limited release films are gems that go unappreciated by Hollywood producers, and from the get-go I had a feeling that I really was going to enjoy this flick. Also, during the opening credits I was exposed to the modern day Hammer Films logo, which increased my interest given their recent success with Let Me In, and of course their prominence in giving us great B-movie horror.
The story takes off well, and we are thrown into the somber lives that both Juliet and Max live, and their meeting each other was enjoyable and added some good emotion that I did not expect to see in such a film. It does not take long before we begin to realize that Max has some emotional and psychological problems, but things don’t really get going until the second half of the film, and that is when things get bad. Every cliché imaginable came to light, and complimented with poor dialogue and only moderately likeable characters I found myself very uninterested in what was going on, and wishing that the film would somehow skip to the closing credits on its own.
While the story lagged in the end, I blame directing execution for the majority of the film’s problems. Director Antti Jokinen (who also served as co-writer) did a great job shooting this piece, with amazing visuals and awesome and crafty cinematography, however his visual expertise did little to overcome the execution faults. Nearly all of the execution faults come regarding our characters, namely Max, who I found very unbearable at times despite a performance from Jeffrey Dean Morgan that seemed relatively spot-on as the type of character he tends to play very well. His scenes in which he is the nice and charming gentlemen were great, however I did not take him too seriously as a demented psychopath. He was not necessarily “bad” as such a character, I just found his performance of those scenes to come off forced, and the bad dialogue did not help him one bit. As far as Christopher Lee’s name on the poster and opening credits…don’t get your hopes up. Sure he is in the film, but merely as genre candy given his entire screen time mostly likely comes in at a maximum of 10 minutes. The horror provided was more OK despite the acting performance from Morgan, and Jokinen managed to use his great camerawork to set up decent tension at times and make for some fun chase scenes as well. The location and atmosphere provided via the renovated apartment was awesome, and aided in keeping me engaged in what was going on, even though it really did pain me to pay attention once the second half kicked in.
Overall, The Resident is another lame Hollywood effort that despite its limited release and production by Hammer Films fails to not be a cheap attempt at giving us run-of-the-mill horror/thriller elements in a poorly executed film. The cliches are high, the story falls flat after a great introduction, and in the end this film was not even worth its limited release.