Mar 16 2011 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
THE Resident is a horror starring Hilary Swank (Juliet) as a doctor moving into a new Brooklyn loft apartment.
Juliet quickly strikes up a friendship with landlord Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) but it becomes clear Max’s motivations aren’t purely innocent and he develops an obsession with her.
The Resident is the second film released by the relaunched Hammer Film Productions after last year’s fine but pointless remake Let Me In.
I remember many a Friday or Saturday night growing up when I naughtily stayed up to watch Hammer horrors on the TV.
Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein made a particularly strong impression and the British film studio played a big part in my love of horror.
The Resident doesn’t belong in the same category as classic Hammer horror.
For a start it isn’t scary... at all. It’s more of a thriller than a horror, and a generic one at that.
Originality isn’t its strong suit either. It plays like Single White Female in reverse, with a man and woman instead of two women, and an apartment block with hidden passages is pure Toolbox Murders.
Finnish director Antti Jokinen makes his big screen debut and at least provides some visual flair.
The film is very glossy-looking and Jokinen’s wide/low angle shots and hyperactive camerawork effectively explore the city of Brooklyn and Juliet’s apartment, especially early on.
Jokinen and Robert Orr’s script, however, does the actors no favours at all.
Swank has tried her hand at horror before with rotten (The Reaping) and good (The Gift) results.
She suffers from a poorly written character. Her quick-fire change of attitude to an ex-boyfriend and late stupidity didn’t make her very endearing, which a horror heroine should be.
Dean Morgan is new to the genre. He does charming very well but despite some genuinely creepy activities, doesn’t bring enough menace to his character.
Hammer legend Christopher Lee (August) is wasted in a small part; we get more shots of the Brooklyn Bridge!
John Ottman’s near-constant score is at its best with unsettling short bursts of ear-ringing and scratching sounds.
Jokinen throws everything from jump scares, sexual prowling and a nail gun at us but it’s all strangely un-affecting.
Early creaking floorboards and effective dark framing give way to Psycho-like peepholes and a ‘join-the-dots’ last half hour.
For Hammer to return to past glories the studio is going to have to do a lot better than The Resident.
A horror without scares is bad enough but a mediocre story and misused cast result in a descent towards the bottom floor of the genre.
Rating - 5 out of 10.