After last year’s well-received Let Me In, this film marks the second release for the newly revamped Hammer Film Productions and shows that there is serious mileage to be had in this studio comeback.
last year’s well-received Let Me In,
this film marks the second release for the newly revamped Hammer Film Productions and shows that there is serious mileage to
be had in this studio comeback. But while Let Me In was a refreshing new angle
on that old horror stalwart the vampire (even if the film itself is a remake),
The Resident is as traditional and conventional as horror gets. And in many
ways, this actually makes it the perfect new instalment in Hammer’s filmography.
Hilary Swank plays Juliet Devereau, a
hospital surgeon who has recently broken up with her long-term boyfriend after
he cheated on her. While looking for a new apartment, she stumbles across the
perfect place at a suspiciously low price and takes it. While moving in, she
strikes up a friendship with the friendly and charming owner and landlord Max (Morgan), who also lives there, as does
his creepy granddad August (Lee).
the same time as Juliet’s relationship with Max crosses a line and becomes
complicated, she begins to feel unsafe in her apartment and starts to notice
strange things happening in the building. Little does she know that, behind her
own walls, there are a series of passageways that allow the increasingly
fixated Max to spy on her during her most intimate moments.
far as scary movies go, this is a tried and tested formula – an eerie old
house, secret tunnels, a stalker watching his victim – and this film doesn’t
add anything new to an already well-worn premise. Having said that, the
familiar scary beats and tropes make this film feel like an homage to the
classic horrors with which Hammer first made its name. As the movie moves
smoothly from bumps in the night to chilling voyeurism and then ending with a
typical locked room showdown between predator and prey, it always remains
predictable but fun.
Swank does little to show off her twice-Oscar-winning skills here, playing
little more than an independent damsel in distress, but thankfully Jeffrey Dean
Morgan makes the film come alive when it most needs it. The sparkly-eyed
charisma and affable grin that made his turn in The Losers so likable is at work again here as Max uses his charms
to win over Juliet. But his sudden turn to frustrated sobs and intoxicated
affection later in the film make him all the more unpredictable and every bit
the terrifying antagonist that this film needs to elevate itself above otherwise
his role is little more than an extended cameo, Christopher Lee makes a welcome
and fan-happy return to Hammer horror films, the arena in which he originally
became a star, after a 34-year absence. It is his brutal attitude towards his
grandson that really sells Max’s mental state and lends the plot more depth
beyond simply ‘psychopath landlord’.
few will find the film particularly original, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance
makes it worthwhile viewing and, besides which, there is great comfort to be
had in seeing Hammer Film Productions back to making what they do best: classic