In some ways, The Resident is a much better film than it deserves to be, but in others it is just not very good at all. The basis for the story revolves around an emergency room doctor renting a cheap apartment in a family-owned building. She begins a flirtation with her landlord, though his interest in her seems to be more sinister than it initially appears, and her being there appears to be less of a coincidence than she first thought.
The opening section where Hilary Swank’s rushed-off-her-feet doctor is swept-off-her-feet by a charming apartment with a charming view and a charming landlord with a charming smile is suitably paced that it does not drag, predictably unsettling when the tension creeps in, and all-in-all feels like standard horror stuff. Then, around twenty minutes in, the film rewinds and we see what just happened from an entirely different perspective, and that makes The Resident very interesting. The voyeuristic filming around corners and through windows is explained as a literal voyeur watching from the walls, and is done well. Then a new character arrives, everything changes, and the film dissolves into a mess that goes from creepy to criminal but without much grace. If you need a trigger warning for subjects like sexual assault, and worse, then this is your alert. It gets rough.
The Resident is a release from Hammer, and so features Christopher Lee amongst the cast in a high-profile name-drop from the classic horror company. Whilst Lee’s legendary status is well-deserved, here he is wasted to a few menacing glances and a handful of lines of dialogue. Swank holds her own as the central protagonist, but the script is beneath her considerable talent. Jeffrey Dean Morgan throws himself into his performance but again, the writing lets him down. Whilst the first half is schlocky horror fun, the second is much less so as all character is lost and the actors are left with stage directions to move them, instead of motivations.
Unfortunately, this film is a disappointing descent into pseudo-darkness that is neither as clever nor as dramatic as it presents itself to be. The Resident has a suitable setup, but a poor payoff, and whilst it may appeal to horror fans for a quick thrill, it does not live up to the Hammer Horror brand that made it.