For a movie mentioning Christopher Lee and “relentless horror” in its blurb The Resident sets the bar high with a lot to deliver. While the “relentless horror” was more “disturbing creepiness” than anything else it did create a sense of unease and kept me watching with morbid curiosity right until the credits rolled.
For those who haven’t seen it or its trailer it follows the story of ER doctor Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank) and her search for a new place to live following her separation from her cheating husband. After being shown a dismally tiny apartment, by what I presume is a real estate agent, Juliet is fortunate enough to be offered a very spacious and surprisingly cheap apartment by the rather cute and charmingly awkward landlord Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Ignoring the old adage “if it’s too good to be true…” Juliet jumps at the chance to move in and, with a landlord like Max, who wouldn’t? On the surface everything seems to be working out for Juliet with her new place starting to feel like home and her adorable landlord proving to be a very helpful handyman and friend. But, as with most thriller themed movies, all is not what it seems and things start becoming unsettling bit by bit. [SPOILERS]
Upon Juliet moving in, Christopher Lee makes the perfect creepy entrance as Max’s grandfather August and I dare say he is inserted into the film to make us question whether he will be the villain in the story. This is quickly resolved and we discover he is more of a backstory character that subtly shows us insight into Max and his upbringing. I was a little disappointed that August didn’t have a bigger role in this movie, running at 87 minutes they could have afforded Christopher Lee another 10 minutes of screen time at the very least without taking anything away from the plot. But, that being said, I can understand why August was only a supporting role.
While getting settled in and bonding with Max, Juliet starts to get the impression something is a bit creepy about the apartment. It begins with open windows, ajar doors and the strange feeling that someone is in the room. No matter how many times she turns the lights on and walks around she fails to see anything out of the ordinary. Living alone in a big apartment it’s only natural that you start freaking yourself out so we can understand why Juliet doesn’t think much of it at first, especially when Max always seems to be conveniently nearby with a friendly smile and eagerness for company. When Juliet kisses Max and things start to get steamy we are treated to a rewind of the film and get to see his perspective. From this point on you can’t help but feel this is really Max’s story and poor Juliet just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time from the very beginning.
What has this movie taught me? A guy drugging your wine and watching you sleep is only slightly disturbing compared to the same guy using your toothbrush when you are not home and smelling your clothes. And if you happen to be renting a place from a clingy, obsessive and lovesick landlord… it’s probably best you don’t piss him off by getting back together with your ex especially if the landlord is a handyman and knows his way around the apartment better than you.