Film Review By Ross Hughes
Hammer Horror does Sliver with Christopher Lee, but without the sex!
One of the best moments of 2011 for every horror fan is not when we see the new logo of Hammer Horror that Marvel should sue. The flicker of what seems cartoon characters but is in fact the history of their films brought a smile to my face but that grin got even bigger when ten minutes into the film the camera pans on our very own Christopher Lee and that ironic moment thrilled my very bone. Hammer and Lee go together like Pegg and Frost and the goosebumps filled my very body even though its nothing but an extended cameo.
Lets get the questions over with! Is The Resident scary? No! Is it vintage Hammer? No! Does it do the Hammer brand proud? Well it does not dishonour it! The truth is The Resident is nothing but harmless fun, its concept was born for the nineties trend of psycho human in this case in the form of a landlord and while it does not break any new ground, I am not going to start to criticise a film that is truly watchable.
The reason for that is the two stars. After Boys Don’t Cry, I have a soft spot for Hilary Swank and while she does not push herself in the acting stakes, she brings out the right side of the sympathy and you can not help but side with her. Here she plays nurse Juliet Dermer whose flat hunting brings her to the lavish and large apartment of Max, a wonderful and at times very creepy Jeffery Dean Morgan. He offers her the place at a very cheap rate which she accepts. With her heart broken from the cheating of her love of her life Jack (Lee Pace), she builds a budding relationship with Max who comes across as the guy who she needs right now. But while she baths and sleeps, unbeknown to her, eye holes surround her apartment. It seems that Max is not the perfect landlord that he makes out, and soon what starts as a perfect tenant and Landlord agreement becomes more of an obsession, leading to murder and in the end, a fight for survival!
Any one who has seen Fatal Attraction and Unlawful Entry will know exactly where this is going but to be fair is such harmless fun you can not help but enjoy the daftness. The concept is stretched at times, Swank takes a bath while being watched, takes another bath while again being watched, it may frustrate you but while Swank is off camera, Morgan carries the picture because he is so damn creepy and pervert. He stands in the shadows, watches her sleep, even masturbates in her bath, and its his performance alone that keeps you watching.
Lee playing the Grandfather of Max who lives next door is wasted, but I suppose its a kind of routine for Hammer to have him in their film and director Antti Jokinen shoots his bolt too early by giving the game away. The film contains an out of the blue flashback at the half hour mark that would have worked brilliantly, if the plot was not given away in the first ten minutes which adds a bit of frustration.
There is also a very dark undercurrent through out, the plot turning on its head when we realise that Max is not just a pervert and while you be rooting for Swank towards the end, the film’s climax becomes just a chase and stalk, running through dark corridors wirh the character of Morgan turning from being just an evil human to an unstoppable supernatural force who just comes back for more.
So in another words, it becomes very silly but if you still watching by the time the end comes, then like me, you just going with the flow and realising at times its just nice to switch off and enjoy some horror daftness.
OVERALL: File under “Guilty Pleasure!”. Its not awful, its not outstanding, but an enjoyable psycho film with a stand out performance from Morgan. Hammer Horror needs to raise their game though if they want to get back to the top of the horror genre……