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With: Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lee Pace, Christopher Lee, Aunjanue Ellis, Sean Rosales, Deborah Martinez, Michael Badalucco, Michael Massee, Nana Visitor, Penny Balfour
Written by: Antti Jokinen, Robert Orr
Directed by: Antti Jokinen
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity
Running Time: 91
Date: 02/10/2011

The Resident (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Lofty Entertainment

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

On paper, The Resident looks like a good movie. It doesn't look like something that should go direct-to-DVD. It stars two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank at her sexiest, and grizzled-but-appealing Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who, after his turns in Watchmen and The Losers, should be one of Hollywood's leading men. It even has the legendary Christopher Lee in a supporting role, as well as Lee Pace, who will be in the upcoming Twilight sequels. I have never heard of the director, Antti Jokinen, but the cinematographer is Oscar winner Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth) and one of the producers is Renny Harlin.

Then it actually starts, and it's so lifeless and so routine, you wonder how it was ever made at all. It's not actually bad and probably didn't deserve the direct-to-video treatment -- it's better than some theatrically-released films -- but it's also completely generic. Even the title doesn't really say much.

Swank stars as Juliet, a busy ER doctor in New York. After breaking up with her boyfriend, she goes apartment hunting and finds a fabulous new loft for the astonishingly reasonable price of $3800 a month. (Yikes!) Her new landlord, Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) even seems kind of handsome, even if he does have a creepy grandfather (Christopher Lee). On the rebound, she shares a near-intimate moment with Max, but pulls back. Unfortunately, Max has already become obsessed and begins sneaking around her apartment, doing various diabolical things. Then her boyfriend (Lee Pace) comes back into the picture...

This must have been one of those things that became a hot property for a few minutes, and attracted a bunch of talent, before anyone actually read the script. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before. Director Antti Jokinen attempts to keep the intruder's identity a secret for a little while, but it's already a given. Then it's just a matter of steps to the bloody chase conclusion. Not to mention that it's cruel material, and not very fond of women, and Jokinen doesn't seem to have the finesse to balance the thriller elements with the more delicate stuff.

Lee gets in one terrific moment ("you're weak!"), and Swank does the best she can, while Morgan uses his charming smile for maximum sinister effect. (And if you want to know about the "brief sexuality/nudity" in the MPAA rating, it refers to Swank's body double.) And of course, the film looks terrific, especially on Anchor Bay's new Blu-Ray. The only extras are trailers.

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