By John Duarte
When you move into an apartment building for the first time, Have you had other people in the apartment give you a weird but happy look when you move in? Luckily, I haven’t but if you did,…That is what the character of Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom) has to deal with and a whole lot more in the movie “1BR”. We see Sarah who moved to LA to start a new life after for herself and become a costume designer but works as a temp for a law firm to pay the bills, she tries to find an apartment to move into somewhere in the suburbs (Most likely the San Fernando Valley) when she stops by the Asilo Del Mar apartment living to fill an application out. Out of all the candidates who filled out the applications, she’s the one they picked.
After she moves in along with her cat (By the way, the apartment is a pet-free zone so no one knows she has one.) She gets welcomed by the community in the building starting with Brian (Giles Matthey) who helps her get settled in. She also befriends an older woman named Miss Stanhope (Susan Davis) and finally the head of the apartment building Jerry (Taylor Nichols) & his wife Janice (Naomi Grossman). Sarahs first night there feels a little strange and she thinks someone is inside her place. A mysterious note gets slipped under her door. As she reads it, someone knows she’s hiding her cat in the apartment. The next night, Yeah, you guessed it. Someone throws the cat in the kitchen stove. Don’t you hate when that happens?
So mysterious figures knock Sarah out (which turns out to be Brian and Jerry) and throw her in the same room she went in during the open house in the first scene in the movie. She gets punished and kind of tortured to the point of forcing her to stand up and they also hammer nails to the palm of her hands to keep her standing up all night. This is all because they want to teach her a lesson in being selfless and Jeff finally explains that the entire apartment complex has all been through this torture and they had to read a book called “The Power of Community”. So basically, it’s kind of a cult.
So that’s basically the plot of this movie. Does hilarity ensue??? Nope, not at all. The first half of the movie goes pretty quick with the kidnapping of Sarah clocking in at the 25 min mark. Around the hour mark, the pacing drags and it loses my attention because there are characters you don’t really care about and it just takes a while until we get into the climax of the movie. But, once we get there, You quickly wake up from your 10-15 min nap and it kicks into high gear. This is the first feature by writer & director David Marmor. His direction was a little flat but there were a couple of standout performances. Mainly the 3 leads of Sarah, Brain, and Jeff. The other characters didn’t get as much love. But what I did enjoy was the final sequence and kind of a surprise ending which this film would easily fit into an Anthology series like “The Twilight Zone” or “Black Mirror”.
“1BR” had it’s United States Premiere on September 28, 2019 at BeyondFest in Los Angeles.