|"That depends...how much do you love rape?"|
Juliet (Hilary Swank) is a New York City emergency room doctor in need of a new home. She receives a call from someone, telling her that there is an apartment for rent. When she arrives, she finds an enormous place in an older building that is nearly perfect: great wood floors, about three acres of floorspace, and a ridiculous view of the city. The downside is that the train passes pretty close to the building and things have a tendency to vibrate off of shelves. The price is shockingly cheap (by NYC standards), so Juliet takes the place.
|"I like the plastic on the walls. It makes it easier to clean blood off!"|
Now stop. Rewind. The film backs up to give the viewer an alternate point of view on the story thus far. It turns out that the friendly Max has been stalking Juliet for some time and she played right into his hands. Remember those moments Juliet thought she wasn't alone? That's because she wasn't. Two-way mirrors, peepholes and secret passages abound in her apartment, and you can be sure that behind every creepy noise in the place, Max is hiding and breathing heavily.
|Aww! Look at that puppy dog face! You are forgiven for everything, Max!|
How's the acting in The Resident? I suppose that depends on how forgiving you are. I wouldn't say that Hilary Swank was good, but she played her role capably. Is it her fault that her character is almost fatally stupid? I don't think so, but it would have been nice for her paranoid character to call the police, even once. I will say, however, that I was surprised that she had some brief getting-out-of-the-tub nudity; that's just about the cheapest excuse for nudity you will come across in a film, and I wasn't expecting it from her in a horror flick. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was certainly creepy for a good portion of this film, so I guess he was somewhat successful. Toward the end of the movie, he exchanged creepiness for sub-par horror slasher villainy, and he wasn't very good at that. I would say that he was solid for the first half of the film, but when the plot returned from its flashback, his performance went downhill quickly. Christopher Lee felt out of place in this movie, somehow; I like seeing him act, but hearing his strong voice coming out of his frail body made me a little sad.
|Little known fact: Christopher Lee is Noah|
|Not necessarily in that order|
The Resident was Antti Jokinen's first (and so far, only) feature film director credit. That's probably for the best. I will give Jokinen some credit; I thought the first thirty minutes were surprisingly solid, although the story felt familiar. I also like that the "surprise" of Max being a creep was not held back as a major plot twist, because...well, it was pretty damn obvious. His fancier camera work was handled clumsily, making scenes that should have been ambiguous (is she alone, or isn't she?) pretty cut-and-dried. I didn't like the choice to rewind the plot to show us how awful Max is, but I suppose it was better than him having a shrine to Juliet in his closet. My main problem with how Jokinen directed this movie was that he was inconsistent. I would have been fine with this film if he had maintained the suspense from the first act. The second act, during the rewind, took all the mystery from the story. The third act just sucked, as Max went from creepy to evil with less buildup than the 12th kill in a Jason movie. I don't think Jokinen did a terrible job directing this film, but he certainly didn't make this story better with his direction.
|Example: he frequently told his actors to look perturbed, not scared|
Unfortunately, Jokinen was also responsible for the major weakness of The Resident: the writing. He co-wrote this screenplay with a guy who was involved in the third Underworld movie, so the talent pool for this screenplay was not particularly deep. Still, this story is pure crap. Ignoring the cliche of the nice guy who is secretly disturbed, there really isn't any other logical suspect when Juliet gets paranoid that she is being watched. So, that means Juliet is either paranoid or her landlord is spying on her; given the title, that seems like a poorly constructed mystery. What really pushed this movie over the edge from drudgery to utter crap was how the writers showed that Max was disturbed. Max's primary way to get close to Juliet was by drugging her and touching her while she was asleep. Licking her hands was creepy enough, but raping her while she was unconscious was more gross than shocking.
|It's surprisingly well-lit when Max chooses to creep|