A direct-to-DVD thriller starring Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank is like finding a Canadian dollar on the streets of Iowa. It’s fascinating from a “What the hell? I found a Canadian dollar in Iowa?” stand point but ultimately, you can’t use it to buy anything so how great could finding a Loonie be? That’s what The Resident is like. It’s a woeful paint-by-numbers suspense-thriller which provides too many unintentional laughs (No Watchmen’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan, don’t do that in her bathtub!) and rare moments of genuine suspense. I’m not sure what kind of dirt music video director Antti Jokinen had on Swank, but it must have been juicy.
Swank plays New York City ER doctor, Juliet Devereau, who is fresh off a split with her boyfriend. Alone and looking for an apartment, this single lady hits the classifieds hard but fails to achieve much success…until she’s tipped off to an apartment near the hospital. It has all the amenities:
- Cheap rent ($3,800 + utilities)
- A great view
- Old timey charm
- Hunky and charming landlord
- Weird old man with a plot point that runs into a brick wall
The apartment has a few negatives too. The F-Line runs past it every night and rattles everything in the apartment which isn’t bolted down and the landlord has peep holes and secret doors to every apartment in the building. (You could probably see that coming.) Yearning for attention, the young doctor has a brief flirty-somethin-somethin’ with Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the landlord. It ends almost as fast as it began thanks to one of the most awkward pre-coitus rejections seen in the film. Poor Max. Lonely and thrust back into the shadows of his apartment building, he keeps tabs on Dr. Feelgood through his peepholes and hidden access to her pad. As Juliet re-kindles her romance with ex-boyfriend Jack (Lee Pace), Max’s mental state starts to deteriorate faster than Charlie Sheen’s. Feeling betrayed by Dr. Hotstuff, Max begins to drug her, knocking her unconscious so Max can…well, you know. Do bad things.
Juliet begins to put two and two together, setting off ye olde confrontation between our villain and victim. The Resident has few charms, but the ones that do have everything to do with Hilary Swank, who rises above the muck of the screenplay and pieces together a solid performance, specifically when Juliet learns what Max has been up to at night. Her reaction is palpable.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the psychopathic super, Max, is able to switch between the charming version of the character and the mentally anguished stalker behind apartment walls with ease. It’s too bad the script let them down because the film could have been a lot better.
The Resident’s relase on Blu-ray comes with as many as many charms and thrills as the feature does. Not much. The release does come packaged with a trailer, just like the DVD. But with the Blu-ray edition, audiences can hear the wooden dialogue between our merry band of characters in true DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. So there’s that.