Movies about lustful obsessions of deranged minds that stalk their object of desire are aplenty. There`s "Deep End", "Fatal Attraction", "Unlawful Entry" and in Bollywood the Shah Rukh Khan starrer "Darr", among others. To add another to the category and to have it stick in the audiences` head, a new film would need a lot of chutzpah. "The Resident" sadly lacks any, and ends up being another also-ran in the genre.
Juliet (Hilary Swank), a doctor, who is struggling with a break-up in New York, rents a cheap but spacious apartment in Brooklyn. She feels attracted to her landlord, but after a little fling dumps him. Meanwhile, she feels somebody`s presence in her residence.
The problems with "The Resident" are many. First is the story, which considering its decent predecessors, is wafer thin. Secondly, the film abandons some basic logic like why would a woman who is herself a doctor, take so long to send her blood sample for diagnostics. Then there is the plot of the landlord with an injured man in the hospital. Who was he and how did he get there?
There are many sub-plots that are left half way, and many that are not explained. Thus while other films suffer from the malady of being longer than needed, this one suffers from exactly the opposite problem.
Many opportunities for menace, like the first part where the presence is shown as a shadow, is lost. If explored in depth, to give the impression of a supernatural occurrence, the twist in the middle would have been much more exciting. Instead, the reliance of the writers on coincidence, which ideally should be the last resort of an artist, kills even this little thrill.
Another important idea behind the film was perhaps to put the spotlight on gender violence. Even in that respect it fails to many films out there that outshine in this hands down. When it comes to voyeuristic films too "The Resident" is the least thrilling of the available lot.
Riddled with cliche, and devoid of real menace, the film whimpers along aided by loud background score that does not add to the tension, thrill or chill. One wonders then what two Oscar winners, Hillary Swank and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro are doing in such a wasted effort. Have they come to such hard times that they have to be part of such monstrosity?