The Resident review (Blu-ray)

Don't get too excited by the fact that Christopher Lee is appearing in a Hammer chiller. The hoary horror company are back in business again (they had a hand in last year's Let Me In) and have employed the old maestro for a creepy turn as a tenant in a New York apartment building. The 89-year-old is suitably grave and unsettling but his presence has little bearing on the plot.

This chiefly concerns Hilary Swank as Juliet, a doctor who has recently moved to the Big Apple. Newly single, she rents a sizeable flat at a surprisingly low rate from Max (Morgan), the landlord of the building. Lee plays his grandfather. After a short spell, shy Max ingratiates himself with Juliet and she initially responds. After all, he's an easygoing guy whom she finds attractive and he could well be the tonic she needs after splitting up from her boyfriend (Pace). But when she's having a bath at night, why does she feel she's being watched? What is the eerie presence that is making her feel uncomfortable in her new home? She installs a CCTV camera to see if anyone is encroaching upon her space. Could it be Max? What if he's not the sweet chap she thought he was but a crazed stalker who won't let anything stand between them?

Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away. All these plot points are sign posted for you in Antti Jokinen's elegant looking thriller. The cinematography is terrific but it's wasted on a generic and routine script that offers no surprises. It's straight to DVD fodder to be honest, but Swank always gives value for money and her impressive acting chops make this mediocre effort more watchable than it has any right to be. She has a great figure too.

Morgan is more of a problem. He's too convincingly pleasant. One can never believe there's an unhinged psycho lurking beneath the surface. A subtly disturbing quality (think Norman Bates) needs to be displayed at times and Morgan simply doesn't register this. He's a very fine actor but rather miscast here. All in all, it's derivative hokum, nicely presented, but devoid of scares, suspense and originality.

EXTRAS ★ Just an audio commentary with co-writer/director Jokinen.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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