The Resident is the first Hammer film that Christopher Lee has starred in for 34 years, according to the press release. Well, to say that he stars in it is a bit of an exaggeration considering it is a glorified cameo. To give him star billing with the other two leads is downright misleading.
The reason that I started the review by talking about Christopher Lee is that I guarantee that's why many people have been drawn to this film in the first place. I know that was true for me.
If you're still here after hearing about the lessened role of Christopher Lee, allow me to take you on a tour of The Resident. The film is about a young doctor (Hilary Swank) who moves into a rather nice apartment owned by Max the landlord (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who was The Comedian in Watchmen) and his grandfather August (Lee). Rather predictably, things are not what they seem, but then you can learn what's actually going on before seeing the movie just by reading many of the reviews you can find online. Long story short, Max is a stalker and has passageways that allow him to enter the apartment at will.
I felt the two lead roles were certainly interesting, but that Jeffrey Dean Morgan did the better job by far. He was cast very well, perhaps due to the role association I made earlier, and really made the disturbed stalker come to life. What I like is that he did it in stages, so that the stalking habit gets more and more oppressive and disturbing as time goes on (from looking but no touching to drugging her and touching her) and builds up tension - what will he do next?
As a media student, it's nice when you can appreciate directorial touches in film. Some of the shots here are very familiar to even the most casual viewer of horror films, but they were directed by someone with real skill behind the camera (which, considering it was his first time directing a movie, was pretty impressive). The actual horror shots and the jump scares that you're here for are executed very well. Predictable, but still done well. There is a scene about thirty minutes into the film where we see everything that has happened to Swank's character up until that point from Max's perspective. That scene managed to achieve the impressive feat of scaring me twice by showing the exact same event. It's the anticipation that gets you.