And yet that’s just what her supposedly brilliant ER doctor character does in “The Resident,” a thriller barely released in theaters last month. There’s good reason for that: It won’t raise your pulse a single beat. The relaunch of the iconic Hammer Films brand got off to a great start last fall — at least artistically, if not financially — with “Let Me In,” but the production company’s sophomore effort sits several rungs below on the quality ladder. At least the opening credits are superb.
Its biggest crime? Predictability. Finnish writer/director Antti J. Jokinen takes such great pains early on to make sure we realize Swank is good at stapling hearts, and that Morgan is good at nailing 2-by-4s, that I told my wife — spoiler alert! — that the end would find her using the nail gun to shoot Morgan in the heart, whereupon he could appear to be dead, only to jump up suddenly so she could deliver one more to his head. And guess what? Some 75 minutes later, that’s exactly what happened.
Hammer vet Christopher Lee is completely underutilized, apparently appearing only to satisfy old-school horror fans who enjoyed him vamping it up as Dracula in many a Hammer film back in the day. Also completely underutilized: the Blu-ray itself. Now that technology can enhance a film experience — and even alter one’s opinion — “The Resident,” typical of its laziness, can offer only a trailer. —Rod Lott