The Resident


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A young female doctor, newly sprung from a live-in relationship and needing a her own place to live, lucks into what seems like the best deal in New York City: an enormous apartment with a great view and a low price tag. The pot is sweetened further by the fact that the landlord is handsome, charming, and single. What could go wrong?

Plenty for her, and plenty for the film as well.

The film started off well. The script went to the trouble of establishing multiple possible explanations for the strange goings-on in the old apartment, while keeping us at first within the protagonist's POV. Is the grandpa as creepy as he seems? Is the landlord not what he appears? Is there something supernatural in the air? Or is the lady doctor simply paranoid about the very predictable failings of an old building? It could have been an intriguing puzzle, but the director almost immediately eliminated the "normal building, paranoid woman" possibility with spooky and ham-fisted foreshadowing. The eerie music and the meaningful glances told us that something was amiss. Then the screenwriter yanked us out of the doctor's point of view, switched to omniscient narration and turned over all the cards, thus eliminating all but one possibility.

The film employs an odd narrative structure. Although it is ostensibly a mystery/thriller, it reveals all the secrets and draws back all the curtains after only 30 minutes of running time, leaving no mystery of any kind in the remaining hour. You know how the Wild Things movies always end with the whodunit being explained by revealing a series of previous actions or schemes we had not been aware of? Well, this film did exactly that, the ol' Wild Things revelation technique, except that it did that at the 1/3 mark! After that first third of the film, the viewer knows everything that had formerly been out of sight, and can guess exactly what will happen from then on. The only part of the narrative which remains unresolved is how long it will take the protagonist to find out what we already know. That's kind of a shame because this might have been a nifty little thriller if it could have kept its hole cards down.

This is a neo-Hammer film, part of that legendary studio's attempt at a revival, and you know that they could have developed some atmosphere because, in a nod to Hammer's storied past, the landlord's creepy old grandpa is played by the studio's all-time greatest star, Christopher Lee. Unfortunately, Lee has little to do, while the film turns out to be disappointing and more than a little annoying.

If you choose to watch this film, I suspect your mind will be occupied primarily with two questions: (1) How did Hammer get Hillary Swank, two-time winner of the Best Actress Oscar, into a movie which could have been made by the same studio in the 1970s, and if it had been, would have played the drive-in circuit?; (2) How did they get the same muscular Ms. Swank to spend the entire film in her underwear, especially since the sexy scenes can't be justified by the artistic merit of this project? (The actual nudity seems to have been done by body doubles.) It's not like Swank habitually doffs her duds on screen, ala Kate Winslet. This is new territory for her. And it's not like she's doing it for an Oscar, ala Halle Berry, because the voyeur scenes in this film are made strictly for audience titillation. If Swank has to take a role like this in the first place, and take her clothes off as well in the process, even if a body double was involved, it doesn't seem that she's getting the respect I would presume to be accorded to multiple Oscar winners. Kate Hepburn was about Swank's age after she won her Oscar for The Philadelphia Story, and I don't remember her suddenly switching to cheapjack thrillers. Frankly, I'm mystified by Swank's willingness to take this role.

Not that I mind. I might be mystified about why she would want to appear in an exploitation film, mostly in her underwear, but I'm also impressed by her credentials. The Swankstress has a spectacular figure.

Blu-Ray DVD


There are no major reviews online. DVD Verdict wrote: "It wouldn't have played any differently if Swank's role had been taken by Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, or Joe E. Tata. This is just another random, generic, pseudo-erotic Direct-to-Video thriller that promises little and delivers less."


5.4 IMDB summary (of 10)


IMDb reports a limited release on February 18th, 2011, but Box Office Mojo contradicts that. Realistically, it is a straight-to-video release.


  • Hilary Swank's character showed her body in gauzy shots. It appears to have involved much body doubling. See the main commentary.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Mediocre mystery/thriller