The Resident [Blu-Ray] Antti Jokinen

The Resident [Blu-Ray] Antti Jokinen
TV and music video director Antti Jokinen makes his feature debut with this tepid thriller from the recently revived Hammer productions banner. His artistic visual flare and the talents of a very capable cast turn an aggressively mediocre and vacant script into something occasionally more compelling than the sum of its parts. Hilary Swank is Juliet, an ER doctor recently split from her husband and on the lookout for a new apartment. After seeing a few duds, she seemingly stumbles into a too-good-to-be-true studio loft. Gee, I wonder if there's a catch? Just a couple: it's unfinished, has shitty cell phone reception and the nearby F train regularly vibrates the place like a paint shaker. But the price is right and the hunky owner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Watchmen) seems charming, never mind the evil wizard Saruman, I mean Dracula ― well, it's just a creepy old man played by Christopher Lee ― living in the apartment at the end of the hall. She takes the place, but begins getting creeped out almost immediately, feeling like she's being watched, because she is. We're treated to the perspective of someone moving behind the walls, sneaking peeks at Juliet in the bath. Early on, The Resident tosses out a few red herrings that could've made for a much more suspenseful picture, but it's almost as if Jokinen realized the marketing team would just spoil the shit out of any attempt at mystery (don't look at the back of case if you want to even pretend you don't know what's going to happen) and drops any pretext of a whodunit? surprisingly early with a flashback reveal of sinister machinations. Changing gears like this, it would've been more satisfying to dig into a character study of a deranged, lonely mind ― and all of the actors, especially Jeffrey Dean Morgan, with his ability to come off as extremely vulnerable and dangerous almost at the same time, dive into their performances with gusto ― but the motivations behind the horror are brittle, only reinforcing the notion that anyone can become a complete scum-fuck without a proper family unit upbringing, and that sometimes that's all it takes. Both DVD and Blu-Ray versions are crammed onto opposite sides of the same disc, so there's no room for extras and the difference in picture quality is negligible. (Alliance)