The Resident Movie Review

The Resident Movie Review
The Resident Hammer Film Movie Review. Directed by Antti Jokinen, starring Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Christopher Lee.
Updated: 02-18-2011
The Resident is one of those movies you watch and enjoy, tingling as it hits all the right buttons, dazzling with verve of visuals, and impressing with its convincing performances. Then, after you get home and the glow has faded, you start thinking about the stuff that was dumb, slapdash, or just plain didn't make any sense. But I still like and recommend The Resident. It goes down like a creepy, wine-cooler cocktail of The Sentinel, Crawlspace, Single White Female, and Fatal Attraction (albeit with a slight hangover).
Juliet is an E.R. doctor who's just moved from the home she shared with her no good louse of a boyfriend, into the home of no-good louses August and Max… misandry abounds in The Resident, with every male character 100% bad, and every female character 100% good. Still, it's so slickly and seductively directed (by first-time feature-maker, long-time music video helmer, Antti Jokinen), The Resident isn't obvious in its obviousness as it plays out in real time.
The first thing you'll notice, and which will sustain throughout the film, is Guillermo Navarro's heady, warm and rich cinematography. Navarro is a Guillermo Del Toro favorite, having lensed the majority of that director's films, but he's also done magnificent jobs on the rock guitarist documentary It Might Get Loud, the Ben Stiller comedy Night at the Museum, and several others. What I like about Navarro is how he goes against the greenish grain of today's trends keeping skins tones toasty, blacks lush, and shadows soft. The picture is really pretty, and that serves to invite us into the home which Juliet (Hilary Swank) decides to make her own.
Unfortunately, it's not hers and hers alone… she's a room-renting resident in a grand, historic-landmark type Brooklyn apartment complex that's being renovated by what remains of the original owners: A peculiar old man (August, played by the venerable Christopher Lee) and his charismatic grandson (Max, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen fame). Needless to say — but worth mentioning anyway — in true horror film tradition, the price of the flat is too good to be true. What's more, Juliet is desperate to move into the new place asap in order to distance herself from her ex (Jack, played by Lee Pace).
As a critic I had some issues, but as a moviegoer, I was ensconced in every moment. Deft direction (and misdirection), keeps the tension ratchet-tight. Buildup leads to a vicious, violent climax which commendably toes the line between sinking-in-your-seat cringes, to outright shout-outs as the brutality builds. I was never, even for a moment, bored — and to me, that's big.
The acting is admirable, thanks to a snug, well-assembled cast. Lightweight Pace is the weakest of the bunch, but he's only a minor character — as is Lee, with only a few minutes of total screen time to showcase his innate force of personality. The Resident is a duet, dance, and duel between Swank and Morgan and each compliments the other beautifully. For one thing, both (at least, in the beginning) look quite beautiful, with flattering camera work and lighting techniques courtesy of Navarro and Jokinen. I, for one, am very weary of so-called realism, making actors look like they're all on Skype. This is cinema. The characters themselves are rather shallow, but depth and nuance is brought with subtlety and an obvious pride in their craft by both Swank and Morgan. There's one scene in particular featuring her, in which Juliet views some surveillance footage, that's spine-tingling yet rings very true. Morgan brings a fragility and eroticism to "mad" Max which was definitely not anywhere on the page.
Music and sounds add volumes of layer to this story, as well. Not unlike the use of the train noise to unsettle in Se7en, The Resident exploits the same technique, plus phone-rings, wine-corks, and rusting bed-sheets. The music ebbs and flows, never stepping on the action.
If you enjoy well-crafted suspensers, are into heavy blood flow, and you aren't in need of much other than some vicarious, voyeuristic thrills, then welcome in The Resident. (It goes out in limited release today [February 18], then to DVD on March 29.)
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
Latest User Comments:
I haven't seen it-is it better than The Resident?
03-20-2011 by Fearonsarms discuss
I actually expected more from this film but was ok. I'm interested to know if anybody is yet to see the Roommate??
03-19-2011 by fran discuss
I saw this an ok film for what it was and was confused by it being a hammer production and starring christopher lee what's going on?
03-17-2011 by Fearonsarms discuss