The Resident (2011) – By Nic Brown

Getting a good apartment in New York City can be tough. Rents are high and the competition for premium lodgings is dog-eat-dog. For Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank), a young doctor living in the city, it looked like her search for a new home would end with her paying too much for too little in the city that never sleeps…until someone answered a notice she put up at the hospital asking if anyone knew of a good apartment. Juliet was shocked when she visited the apartment in Brooklyn. The owner, Max (Jeffery Dean Morgan) seemed like an angel come to her rescue. A huge apartment in an older building, freshly renovated, convenient for her work and priced so low that Juliet is sure it’s a mistake. Who could ask for more? Unfortunately for Juliet, the cost of her new home proves to be more than just the rent in the new thriller from Hammer studios: THE RESIDENT.

Juliet moves in and strikes up a quick friendship with her landlord Max and his elderly grandfather August (Christopher Lee). Recently separated from her cheating boyfriend Jack (Lee Pace), Juliet begins to feel some attraction to Max, who she runs into frequently both in and out of the building. This attraction leads to a brief but intense make out session, but before she and Max go all the way, Juliet pushes him away, feeling she is not ready for a new relationship.

Of course a relationship is a two way street and what Juliet doesn’t know is that Max, somewhat of a recluse despite his outwardly gregarious manner, was the one who contacted her about the apartment. He’d seen her working at the hospital and began stalking her, orchestrating her finding the apartment, then doing his best to manipulate her into a relationship by always being there at the right time, ready to say or do just the right thing. The extensive network of hidden passages, one-way mirrors, and peepholes he’s built into the apartment facilitate his plans and allow him voyeuristic thrills.

But now Juliet is trying to get back together with Jack and she’s lost interest in Max as anything more than just a friend, which doesn’t set well with Max. In fact, Max’s voyeuristic thrills quickly switch to something more sinister as he drugs Juliet’s wine and begins visiting her at night. Juliet becomes more and more certain that something isn’t right but will she find out the truth before it’s too late?

THE RESIDENT is one of the new generation of Hammer horror/thriller films that have begun appearing since the studio’s rebirth in the new millennium. While THE RESIDENT doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, the film is well made and both Swank and Morgan give good performances, bringing some real feeling to the roles of both the victim and the psychotic stalker. A real treat for fans of classic Hammer films is Christopher Lee who, although only appearing in a small role, manages to steal the scenes when he’s on camera. Overall THE RESIDENT is a good thriller. While not containing any big surprises, it does take some creative twists in the story telling. So check out THE RESIDENT from Hammer films and remember that it doesn’t take much to turn a dream home into a nightmare.