I'm constantly perplexed by movies like 'The Resident'. It's as if they were hoping for something much bigger when making it, and at some point down the road everyone realized the movie was terrible so it got pushed past the back burner and ended up falling behind the stove. How else can you explain Oscar Award-winning actress Hilary Swank slumming it here? Or how other familiar faces like Jeffery Dean Morgan ('Watchmen'), Lee Pace ('Pushing Daisies'), and Christopher Lee ('Lord of the Rings') are involved. All I can think is that there must have been some big, wide release plans for 'The Resident', and then once there was an actual finished product, some studio executive saw it and said, "Ick. This is going straight to home video."
Juliet Deverau (Swank) has just moved to New York and is looking for a place to live. After exhausting all her options, and finding nothing, she finally receives a call from Max (Morgan) about a place that he's renting. It's a gigantic apartment, but is considered affordable by New York standards at $3,800 a month. It's almost too good to be true. To top it all off, Max seems like Juliet's dream guy. He's kind, courteous, and seems to always be around right when Juliet needs his help.
Juliet settles into her nice new place and everything appears to be fine. Then the creepiness starts. Looming, human-shaped shadows standing in the corner. Ominous shots of someone peering through holes in the wall, and a two-way mirror in Juliet's bathroom. The movie must think we're dumb, because it assumes that we don't know who's doing the spying. That one's pretty easy to figure out, even without the obligatory flashback, all one has to do is look at the Blu-ray's cover art to surmise exactly who the creepy peeping tom is.
'The Resident' follows all of the tired horror formulas. Creepy, low-tones invade the soundtrack whenever something bad is about to happen. Loud "dun-duns" blast whenever the movie wants to point out that something is indeed really scary. The Mickey Mouse sound design drove me crazy in this movie. I felt like we were walking through the town of Silent Hill rather than an apartment with a creepy guy walking around inside the walls.
As the movie progresses, it devolves into a bland cat-and-mouse thriller, where Juliet soon begins to catch on to what's happening, has her own revelation, and then in true horror fashion she dispatches with her unwanted guest using household tools.
The whole movie is just ridiculous, but the sad thing is that it takes itself so seriously. Max is a troubled man, who in a better movie would have been a great character for Morgan to explore. There are moments in this movie where you think it may delve into what drives Max to be such a creep, but it never quite gets there. There's an odd flashback scene that tries, through blurry images of old photographs and a voiceover by Christopher, to explain Max's motives. Except, the flashback doesn't come anywhere close to answering any sort of questions. Like it was included just to show some weird imagery and play screeching horror music in the background.
It's tough to see all these likable actors doing schlock like this. It's evident that before production, 'The Resident' seemed promising, but the whole thing became derailed quickly after it began filming. What a mess of a movie!
'The Resident' creeps onto Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer helped along with an AVC encode. The movie actually looks quite good in high-def, even with its cranked up, overcooked contrast.
Skin tones do waver around, becoming too orange because the contrast has been overblown slightly, but everything else looks great. There's wonderful detail in faces, and with the numerous closeups there's plenty of facial detail to go around. I thought the color was nicely presented here, even in the dark cavernous pathways that Max uses to walk inside Juliet's walls. Whites are spectacularly clear and precise, while blacks are deep and unrepentant. Shadows are engulfing here, but in a good way. There's still plenty of detail to go around in many of the darker scenes. Edges of shadows are delineated quite well providing for a great thematic presentation even in the darkest of scenes.
A solid transfer for a shaky movie.
I'm not a fan of the sound aesthetic used in this film, but it doesn't mean that 'The Resident's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track doesn't do its job.
The movie relies far too much on phony-baloney suspense falsely created by its ever-surging soundtrack. That's the fault of the filmmakers. This 5.1 surround track, however, takes it all and presents it as cleanly as possible. LFE is strong and constant, as the sound designers use it whenever there's an oh-so-scary moment coming up. Directionality works great as tiny creaks from floorboards off screen can be heard with precision. Dialogue is presented clearly through the front and center speakers.
One very notable audio mistake happens at the 16:43 mark though. Juliet says the phrase "I wanted to thank you for your incredibly thoughtful gift." But, as soon as she gets to "thoughtful" the audio drops out for a split second so we actually end up getting "…incredibly thought gift." I played it back a few more times just to be sure, and I can confirm that the audio drops out, for whatever reason, at that point. That's the only gripe I had in an otherwise encompassing soundtrack.
I'm already nominating 'The Resident' for a Bad Movie Night over on The Bonus View. Yeah, it's that bad, but watched with the right people this one could be really funny. It takes itself so seriously that it would almost be endearing if it wasn't so stupid. At least it looks and sounds good in high-def. Skip this one, unless you're looking for a good (bad) movie to riff on with your friends.