Review: The Resident (2011)

The Resident, a home invasion thriller directed by Antti Jokinen, is Hammer second shot at commercial horror after the marginally successful Let Me In.

The film centers on Juliet (Hillary Swank), a doctor who, after a messy break-up with her boyfriend (Lee Pace), rents a spacious apartment in Brooklyn, subsequently finding herself beset on all sides by a mysterious, unseen force of evil.

Jokinen’s direction, from the offset, is shaky as he tries to build quiet suspense and an eerie atmosphere on the shoddy premise and haphazard script. That said, he does make effective use of CCTV security footage captured on motion-sensitive cameras, using them to instill some low-key terror. The problem is he’s too timid to take it anywhere.

What works, is the fine fine examples of Hammer’s classic horror film aesthetic embedded within the action; from ripe dialogue, and enthusiastic cast to fog-thick atmosphere and some tense camera-work. It’s a breath of fresh air to see these techniques being used once again, it’s just a shame so see them go wasted.

In terms of casting, Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan both bring adequate shading to their respective characters, delivering equally respectable performances. Neither of then, however, feel comfortable enough with the source material to truly captivate us, and make us sympathise with their characters.

Sadly, Christopher Lee – in his first Hammer film for close to three decades – is shamefully wasted as August, who immediately – despite his limited screen time – brings a smidgen of credibility to the film.

The Resident is not outright awful, but it’s nothing more than a routine Hammer horror film that fails to create any atmosphere around its premise.

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