Film Review: The Resident

The Resident should leave you questioning the safety of your home and who has access to it. Instead, it is more likely to leave you questioning why you spent ninety minutes watching this tripe.

ER doctor Juliet is looking for a new apartment after her husband cheats on her. Finding a spacious but very affordable place in Brooklyn, Juliet can’t believe her luck. Her good fortune is short lived however, as someone is watching her from within her apartment…

The Resident has numerous factors conspiring against it. Most important of these is the fact that the film is not actually frightening at all. There is certainly an air of creepiness to proceedings, but the film fails to generate any genuine scares. Scenes that should cause apprehension fall flat thanks to lacklustre direction from Antti Jokinen. Instead, the film is voyeuristic but lacks a sense of trepidation.

The Resident owes a great debt to Psycho with its plot. The narrative is a lot less credible than Hitchcock’s film, however. There are some standard horror movie set-ups; the phone without reception, for example. The violence is kept to a minimum until the climax. The voyeurism is at best unsettling, though it never crosses over to become genuinely troubling.

The Resident is not exactly what would be expected from Hammer Film Productions. It has the guise of a horror film, but in reality it is a more straightforward thriller (albeit without the thrills). The film stars Christopher Lee in a small role, adding to this horror pedigree. Nonetheless, while Lee seems to bring a certain gravitas to all his films (from Horror Hotel to The Lord of the Rings), even he cannot save The Resident. Moreover, Lee is underused in a role that is pretty pointless except for the exposition that the character supplies.

One of the few positives of The Resident is the cinematography. Guillermo Navarro creates an atmospheric tone for the film with a considered visual style. Most of the film’s creepiness can be attributed to Navarro’s cinematic prowess. The score meanwhile is overused at times, attempting to force anxiety where there is none.

Hilary Swank is as competent as ever in The Resident. The actress is also an executive producer of the film, which may explain her involvement with a picture far from her usual fare. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is decent as landlord Max.

With its extended climax, The Resident ultimately feels a lot longer than ninety minutes. There is an awful long wait for scares that never materialise.