Director: John Ainslie | 77 minutes | Second Sight | On Sale 22nd May
Alone with a baby and feeling isolated, Joanna feels a growing sense of unease in her new apartment. Are the sinister noises, banging on the walls and whispering voices real, or is she losing her mind? Gradually uncovering the chilling history of her new home, she desperately clings to her sanity, while fearing the horrific events of the past have left a very real and malevolent presence.
The Resident is from Black Fawn Films, the company responsible for modest hits Antisocial (2013) and The Drownsman (2014). In the several years they have been open for business Black Fawn established themselves as a firm that makes good horror.
The Resident, aka The Sublet, is a little pedestrian though. When a film begins with a seemingly happy couple, who have just became parents for the first time, moving into a seemingly normal apartment then any horror fan worth their salt will know what that means.
What it means is that they are ‘not alone’ and, yes, spooky and eerie things begin to happen. Mainly to the mother, Joanna (Tianna Nori), and of course she thinks she imagined them or she is ignored when she speaks up. Then come the surreal dreams and increasingly realistic sightings of an unknown woman in the apartment. The twist and turns are fairly easy to predict and viewers may rightly guess what is going to happen before it actually does.
That doesn’t mean this is a bad movie, far from it. The handful of actors that make up the cast play their roles well. Tianna Nori has the most screen time and most of the supernatural occurrences happen to her. Nori’s performance gradually becomes one of a desperate woman battling things she doesn’t understand while no one will help. There is also one excellent scene when Joanna is looking in a mirror and suddenly starts coughing up blood. After the coughing has stopped she pulls a razor blade from her mouth, with no idea how it got there.
The Resident is the first and to date only full length film of director John Ainslie, who also co-wrote. Ainslie does show talent behind the lens and his feature as a slightly muted, bleak feel that does create atmosphere in places. He will hopefully develop his abilities whenever he does direct another full length work.