Apartment 1BR (2019) - Review. "Neighbours, Everybody Needs Good Neighbours..."

Written & Directed By: David Marmor, Starring: Nicole Brydon Bloom, Giles Matthey, Taylor Nichols & Naomi Grossman.

If I had to identify what I liked most about this job, it would be that we are occasionally approached by filmmakers to review a movie that might have otherwise passed us by unnoticed.

While I always endeavour to watch as many independent or low-budget films as I can feast my eyes on, it’s next to impossible to catch them all.

I’ve often felt that the horror genre doesn’t get enough credit when it comes to introducing the world to talented filmmakers, as I'm sure there are more examples of this in horror than any other genre of filmmaking. That is exactly what I experienced while sitting down to watch Apartment 1BR. An introduction to some exciting and undoubtedly talented filmmakers.

Apartment 1BR tells the story of Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom), a young woman who, while starting out alone in the big city, stumbles across ‘the perfect’ LA apartment building. It’s like a respectable version of the apartment complex that the Larusso’s move in to in The Karate Kid and with a much cleaner pool. Sadly, no kung-fu handyman, though.

Sarah can’t believe her luck. The room is spacious, her neighbours appear to be pleasant and welcoming. It’s all seems a little too good to be true, and with this being a horror movie, that’s exactly what it is…

"Hands against the wall, you say? Nailed it!"

At first, the film leads you to think it’s going to be a case of things that go bump in the night. However, it’s soon established that it’s not that kind of film at all. One swift rug-pull later and before you can say “cult,” it swerves off in a totally different direction. A direction that I enjoyed a whole lot more than I would have, had it have been just another tired, supernatural entity movie.

The plot races along at a swift pace, and at 90 minutes long, there’s no time for the rot of monotony to set in. That’s not to say that it ever feels rushed. The character introductions are satisfactory. We get to know as much about them as we need to. They at no point feel cliched. A trap that many a film such as this falls into when developing characters.

The highlight of the movie is its protagonist, Sarah. Nicole Brydon Bloom turns in an impressive performance and gives us a character worth rooting for.

Another highpoint was the use of music throughout. There are some curious and amusing song choices. Especially during the torture and eventual acceptance/branding scene(s), that raised a chuckle or two.

If I had to think of a bracket to put Apartment 1BR into, I would probably group it in with such films as The Lords of Salem or Rosemary’s baby. Although that’s a little misleading as, while the film is a story of neighbours with an insidious agenda, that is where the comparison ends. I say insidious, but they do try and cook her a roast… And it’s not lamb, beef or pork.

Lester found aiming, with no depth perception, a bitch.

Writer/Director David Marmor has put together a great-looking film. The cast all do a brilliant job and the dialogue is well written. Who needs Shakespeare when instead you can have a character repeatedly screaming “fuck you,” while stabbing someone to death? At least it isn’t pretentious.

If I was forced to have one complaint, it would be that I felt that Sarah was broken in too quickly. More time could have been taken to indoctrinate her into the community. The building’s residents seemed happy that she had become a card-carrying member of their ranks far too easily, while I (the audience) could see that at no point did she seem comfortable in her new ‘family’. But that’s just me nit-picking.

I highly recommend Apartment 1BR and can’t wait to see what the folks at Blue Finch Films offer up next.


You can view the trailer here: