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The Resident

By
Still from 'The Resident'
Released on Friday, Mar 11 2011

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The repetition of that one letter succinctly sums up this dismally dull 'thriller', while also mirroring the lazy unoriginality masquerading as The Resident's 'scantily clad stalked by emotionally unstable psycho' plot. The most shocking aspect of the movie lies in the seriously impressive credentials behind it.

It's desperately sad that this production heralds the full moviemaking return of the iconic horror studio Hammer, following their Let Me In co-production last year. A shambolic script and insipid direction wastes the talents of leads Hilary Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but it's bordering on criminal that poor Christopher Lee - so integral to Hammer's ascendance and legacy - is squandered in an ineffective supporting role.

Hilary Swank must have been battered in the ring a few too many times while making Million Dollar Baby, with the resulting loss of grey cells accounting for her decision to accept such a dire role. She plays walking cliché Dr Juliet Devereau, whose love life has suffered due to her work obsession and stalkerish tendencies of her ex. In between stripping off for numerous shower/bath sequences that provide more exasperation than titillation for the viewer, Juliet moves into a plush apartment in a building occupied by the overly-friendly landlord (Morgan) and his grandfather (Lee). The rent is extremely cheap. Hmmm, what could the catch possibly be? Ah yes. Knife-wielding mentalist alert!

Any ambiguity and suspense is frequently stripped by writer/director Antti Jokinen's signposting of every upcoming twist and turn. This is epitomised by a supposedly revelatory and overlong flashback sequence that occurs just half an hour into the movie and contains big snippets of scenes we've already witnessed! It simply serves to prolong the agony of the viewer. We are also treated to some of the most basic expositionary writing ever in an unintentionally funny early scene in which Juliet basically spills out anything relevant to future plot developments in her life story in response to a mundane question from a colleague.

Bizarrely enough, both the movie's nadir and zenith occur in the same scene, in which one character masturbates over thoughts of Hilary Swank's Juliet while lying fully clothed in her bathtub. The desperation to shock is pathetic. Yet it does give rise to a glorious new word that deserves to worm its way into popular culture - 'swanking'.

Overall, you're unlikely to pleasure yourself on an intellectual, escapist or visceral basis if you see The Resident. Its tension-free tedium is to be avoided at all costs. It was so mind-numbing that I spent much of the film painstakingly inscribing the letters 'M' and 'C' before the phrase 'Hammer Presents' on the front of the production notes dished out to the critics prior to the screening. Sometimes one's desire for self-amusement during times of abject misery knows no bounds...


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