SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT!
After splitting up from her boyfriend, Dr Juliet Devereau has moved to Brooklyn to start a new life away from her ex. She moves into a dream apartment for a stunningly low price, but the apartment soon turns out to be a nightmare when her landlord Max develops an obsession with her, an obsession with no limits. But just how far will he go to be with her?
The Resident is a 2011 Hammer Production. It is the second theatrical production from the now resurrected Hammer Productions. It stars Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Christopher Lee. It was directed by Antti Jokinen.
Well first of all, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is brilliant in this. For the first half hour he's this quiet, friendly and lonely man (as he spends all his time caring for his Grandfather August). But literally half hour in, this opinion of Max is flipped on it's head as the film rewinds back to show us the first half hour only this time as a 5 minute segment all from Max's perspective. During this we see that he has been stalking Juliet from the moment he saw her in the Hospital. He planned each move carefully ensuring that she would come to his building for an apartment, and continued after that so they would bump into each other at an art exhibition and eventually hook up in her apartment which is the half hour mark it rewound back from. This I thought was great, I had expected this to be one of those that the shocking reveal is at the end, which unless there was going to be a twist then the big reveal had been spoilt by the trailers and posters. But the question isn't who is it? But is instead what will he do next? And just how far will he go? So for the rest of the film we see that he's actually this creepy, obsessive, lonely guy. We see him skulking around her apartment whilst she sleeps and even using her tooth brush whilst she's out.
I can't describe how much I loved the fact that this wasn't just a typical suspense thriller, my first reason being what I mentioned already that the fact of who done it? isn't the mystery, the mystery is what will he do next? Even the ending wasn't what I expected so this I loved even more. I'll explain about the ending a bit later. In my opinion, because there isn't a surprise twist to reveal who has been stalking her because that was already revealed very early on, I believe that this film will hold up well to repeat viewings. Some films with a twist at the end aren't as good second time round due to the shock factor no longer being there, although this isn't always the case but sometimes it is. Anyway, because this doesn't have that typical unexpected “oh the butler did it in the library” sort of twist then I believe it will hold up to repeat viewings.
The Resident reminded me quite a lot of Psycho. There are several reasons, firstly the baddie is a landlord whether it be of a block of apartments or of a motel. Secondly, is the way he stalks the female tenant he likes by spying on her through a hole in the wall. And thirdly, he even has a sick relative to look after, although at least in The Resident's case August isn't a skeleton wearing a wig being kept in the fruit cellar.
Later on in the film, Juliet gets an ADT security system set up in her apartment to capture any goings on whist she's out as she is getting suspicious because she is starting to sleep through her alarms all the time and wakes up with an unusual feeling. Up until this point we know Max is a bad person for stalking this poor woman and obsessing over her so much that he drugs her just to look at her whilst she sleeps. But at times we see an emotional side to him when he starts crying over her. He even has this childlike demeanor at one point when he tells her he's confused because she kissed him first. To which she replies that she was experimenting, that's what people do. Then he says that he doesn't do that and leaves. I took this childlike behaviour to be due to him not having much of a social life as he spends his time looking after August. This made me feel at times all most sympathetic for him, he's devoted his life to looking after August and as a result is out of touch with humanity, he doesn't go out unless he has to and his only company is August. But then all sympathy is lost when Juliet checks out some of the recordings captured by the ADT security cameras, she witnesses him raping her during her deep sleep which was caused because he has been drugging her.
WARNING! I AM ABOUT TO DISCUSS THE ENDING! WARNING!
I thought the ending was great, as I mentioned earlier I felt it wasn't the stereotypical ending for a film of this kind, so for that it surprised me and left me shocked (in a good way). First of all, there is a point where Max gets Juliet's boyfriend and we don't see what happens to him. I expected for him to turn up at the end all tied up so then there's this happy ending once it's all over. But nope, he's dead. During the 10 minute fight at the end between Juliet and Max she comes across his dead and badly beaten body in a cupboard. Then there's the ending, which for me was very traditional of Hammer films of the past. She has a nail gun shoots it into his chest, then after he jumps up at her she gets him in the head, then there's a shot of him dead followed by a shot of Brooklyn Bridge then the credits. I thought this was brilliant, it was a very Hammer-esque abrupt ending, none of that “One Year Later” malarkey in which we would see her moving into another apartment. So yeah, it's pretty much BANG! DEAD! CREDITS. But that's not all that I felt was traditionally Hammer about it, the film's length is only about 90 minutes which most Hammer films years ago had similar running times. For a typical thriller I would have expected a 2 hour film maybe 1 hour and 45 minutes, but 90 minutes surprised me, again in a good way because it didn't drag it out and the suspense was still great even on a shortish length film. And of course the use of Christopher Lee was very, very Hammer-esque (obviously).
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Resident. I thought it was really good, I loved the break aways from traditional suspense thrillers that it made. The film was at times brilliantly creepy and had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next, so credit to director Antti Jokinen. And again credit to Jeffrey Dean Morgan who was brilliant, he was great at the start as this friendly, helpful man, and then flipped this perception on it's head with one 5 minute segment revealing his true identity, obviously Jeffrey Dean Morgan was better after the half hour mark in this role after all he's always better as a baddie. I felt more sympathetic with Max rather than Juliet, the whole stalking shabang aside, her character just wasn't that likeable. She was a bit of a bitch. Then you get August played by Christopher Lee, it seems almost as if they wrote August in after they had finished the script just so they had a role to offer to Christopher Lee. The annoying thing about that is not only does he not get to do much, but whilst filming he tripped over a cable onset and pulled his back. This resulted in him not being well enough to play the main role in The Wicker Tree (a sort of sequel to The Wicker Man), so in doing a minor role for a pretty decent Hammer film (but not really on par with The Wicker Man) he then ended up having to pass on the main role and instead accept a minor role in THE WICKER MAN SEQUEL. For that reason, The Resident has been tainted for me. On a lighter note, I personally prefer Hammer Horrors over Hammer thrillers, but I would happily see Hammer make more thrillers like this one. It's out today 11th March, so go see it.
The Resident 4/5