The Resident will do nothing to restore the glory to the Hammer name, but everything to confirm your faith in the power of the guilty pleasure.
Where to begin? With what one can only imagine is a last-ditch effort to divert attention from the jaw-dropping mediocrity of the film itself, the promotional shot for The Resident desperately brandishes a shadow-framed portrait of Hilary Swank.
Yet not even the star-muscle of a Hollywood luminary, nor the retrospective glory of the Hammer legacy, can rescue The Resident from its near-inevitable status as the most laughable and crassly executed film of the year.
In a loud, chaotic Emergency Room sequence, we are introduced to a blood-spattered Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank), a photogenic surgeon, who, recently separated from her adulterous boyfriend, is in need of a new home. Stumbling upon a vacant apartment in an imposing period building, Juliet swiftly snaps up a newly-decorated pad from the seemingly innocuous Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Because shy Max makes up for what he lacks in social competence with an appealing measure of stubble, it is not long before Juliet, encouraged by her caricatured, finger-clicking African-American girlfriend, begins to consider him as a rebound option. But when a romantic evening is aborted by Juliet’s residual attachment to her cheating boyfriend, and she decides against igniting a new flame, Max’s sociopathic crush unfurls. Unfortunately, for Juliet at least, it knows no bounds.
The next 60 minutes witness Max performing a variety of derivative stalker-cum-sociopath activities in Juliet’s apartment, to which, as her landlord, he handily has unlimited access to. He fondles her dresses with fetishistic fixation (Psycho); he expresses disproportionate levels of hurt at Juliet’s rejection (Fatal Attraction); he uses her electric toothbrush in an erotic ritual (a bizarre and wonderful innovation all The Resident’s own).
And yet somehow the sheer absurdity of all this is sufficiently hilarious to sustain a degree of inverse-enjoyment that at moments feels almost joyous.
From the unfathomable insertion of symbolic imagery scenes to connect events (clouds for the passage of time; and a train, quite unbelievably, for sexual invasion); to the casually racist tokenism of Juliet’s best friend; to the sounds of Max heavy breathing whilst hidden beneath his victim’s bed, The Resident will do nothing to restore the glory to the Hammer name, but everything to confirm your faith in the power of the guilty pleasure.
Christopher Lee signals Hammer pedigree.
So shockingly bad, it is really, extraordinarily good.
Proffers at least a day’s worth of revisiting the terrible dialogue.