Notable Cast: Hilary Swank, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace
Review: So great, now I’m never going to rent an apartment. I don’t need to be worried about creepy landlords druggin’ me and suckin’ on my toes. Thanks The Resident. Not to be confused with The Roommate starring Leighton Meister, The Resident takes the route of having the obsessed party be the landlord instead of, well, the roommate. But this had to be better, right? Based on star power alone, The Resident elicited more watching potential, including 2 Oscars from Swank, one of the most professional actors in Lee, and my favorite Watchman, Jeffery Dean Morgan. But, past talent holds no weight when a movie just flat-out sucks. I want my hour and a half back.
Dr. Juliet Dermer (Swank) is living on her own and shopping for an apartment. Her cheating husband Jack (Pace) caused her departure, and she’s sick of living in a hotel after long days/nights of work in the ER. After a few attempts, she stumbles upon a spacious apartment for super cheap, seeming too good to be true. She meets the building owner Max (Morgan) as he’s doing work to the apartment, and ends up becoming the apartment owner right then and there. As Juliet becomes acquainted with her surroundings, Max is incredibly generous with his time and getting her settled. Becoming increasingly confused and lonely, Juliet feels a small attraction between herself and Max. She acts on it one night after dinner, only to push him away before things get started because of the apparent feelings still lingering for her ex-boyfriend Jack. Out of frustration, Max goes back to his favorite pastime: watching Juliet through the strategic peep holes he has set around the room. Turns out Mr. Nice Guy is nothing but a creeper. As Max becomes more and more frustrated, his acts become more and more forward. Will he let himself go too far with his sick obsession, or can Max contain himself around who he thinks is the love of his life?
First off, Swank’s character Dr. Dermer is one of the most un-observant woman ever to grace the screen. You would think Max showing up everywhere she was outside her apartment would have been the first red flag. No? It’s not weird you see your self-described shut in land lord out by himself at an art show or at the same coffee shop as you the exact time you go in? No? Alright, fine, coincidence, it happens. What about Max’s obvious peep-hole choices? In the kitchen, he moves the electrical outlets out of their sockets so he can see through the two holes. Swank’s phone rings right directly beneath the hole, she looks over, yet is oblivious to the eye balls that are in place of her outlets. Umm…really? All Max does is twist it back an inch after he’s done, not even putting the outlets back in proper place. Is it me, or would you notice if your outlets were in random places in the wall day-to-day? Not that I’m hung up on the whole outlet thing, but Max’s presence was so obvious it was impossible to believe Juliet was oblivious to his twisted world.
The second downfall is that The Resident couldn’t be more clichéd. Every creepy suspense device is used. The worst being the camera shot that shows Max pressed against a wall while Juliet walks on the other side. A few times is enough, but every scene is just ramming the point down our throats. We get it, Max is always in the room and Juliet has no idea. Oh, and how convenient that Juliet NEVER walks in the right room to catch Max. You hear a noise, you check everywhere. Please, we’ve all been there. You hear the creepy noise somewhere in the hallway. You try to ignore it, until you get that paranoid feeling someone is right behind you or something. So what do you do? Throw every single door open in the house until you’ve check every room to the tee, leaving no surprises. Juliet adopts the “eh, I’ll gamble” method of investigation by just flicking one light on which of course is the wrong one every single time. Please, based on statistics alone, Juliet had to get lucky at least once and reveal the presence of Max just based on pure stupid luck. It’s a giant tease to the audience showing them both in frame but in different rooms, because the audience already knows it’s too early for there to be a showdown, turning the tease into frustration. What a cheap way to try to create tension that The Resident beats into a bloody pulp.
The one bright spot of the film? Jeffery Dean Morgan actually does play a pretty good voyeur. He was the perfect combination of overly hospitable and scarily obsessed. Max was the kind of character you’d never suspect as the bad guy, unless you’re simultaneously watching him do both on-screen that is. But with that said, he falls prey to again one of the biggest horrible movie clichés ever: the inappropriately timed speech giving villain. “Now that you’re finally in my clutches, let me tell you why I’m doing this and OW WHEN DID YOU GET THAT HAMMER?!” When you were talking you self-absorbed moron. You caught her, finish the job!
Basically, if you’ve seen any other movie before, you can pretty much tell the entire story of The Resident and predict exactly what will happen scene to scene. I can’t believe Christopher Lee got roped into this title, but his hardly used character probably took no time to shoot so I can understand the quick paycheck. Man, there just wasn’t enough to the story here. A creepy guy watches a girl in her apartment. Yeah, that’s it. We watch Swank walk around oblivious to her problem, we wait for the climax of her discovering Max’s perverted secret, and finally we finish with the inevitable battle finale between voyeur and voyee. It’s tired, lazily shot, softly written, but well cast (In the sense that we ask how they hell these actors were signed). A total skip of a film, The Resident might just rank as horrible as its close sister film The Roommate.
Final Rating: 4 wrong switch flips out of 10