Cast: Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace, Nana Visitor
Director: Antti Jokinen
NYU, Class of 2012
"I am nobody's little weasel." -Amelie, from Amelie
Review By: Angela Char
The Resident is creepy, but never actually frightening. Dr. Juliet Dermer (Hilary Swank) is an ER doctor in New York who is looking for a new apartment after being cheated on by her ex-husband (Lee Pace). She finds an enormous, magnificent apartment with a stand alone bath. The ruggedly handsome owner of the building, Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), offers it to her for $3800 a month. Which really should have tipped her off.
Max turns out to be a sociopathic stalker with some unresolved daddy issues. For no extra charge, he has upgraded Juliet’s new apartment with peepholes and secret closets. His anger and pain at Juliet’s rejection is wholly disproportionate to the level of their relationship, and soon enough, he’s literally the monster beneath her bed, listening to her as she sleeps.
Imaginative cinematography keeps the film from dragging, but there’s little that can breathe life into this predictable story and its one-dimensional characters. Swank is a capable actress, but Juliet has so little specific personality that it’s impossible to feel more than generalized concern at her plight. Morgan’s Max fares a little bit better. He, at least, gets to feign vulnerability because of murky childhood horrors. Morgan is as good as his character allows, and is likeable enough that it’s believable that he goes undetected for so long. The most alarming character in this film is Max’s grandfather August (film legend Christopher Lee), and he mostly just sits still and looks.
An interesting side note for any Star Trek fans out there, Nana Visitor who played Major Kira on Deep Space Nine has a brief appearance here as a realtor. Not a significant part but clearly the opportunity to do a scene with Hilary Swank was enough to pique her interest.
Despite the gory finale, this film never amounts to more than atmosphere. It’s entertaining enough, but lacks the shock value, innovation, or intelligence to let it stand out in a crowd of home invasion horror films. If you don’t actually like scary movies, but wouldn’t mind an hour and a half of goosebumps, this may be the film for you.
The film was given a limited release, and left theaters fairly quickly. The Blu-ray DVD’s visual and auditory clarity are effective in heightening the tension, but aside from a trailer, there are no other DVD extras.