VOD film review: Apartment 1BR
James R | On 11, Sep 2020
Director: David Marmor
Cast: Nicole Brydon Bloom, Taylor Nichols, Clayton Hoff, Giles Matthey
How far would you go to secure the perfect flat? In the current housing crisis, the answer could be rather disturbing but while Apartment 1BR does plumb some very dark depths, the horror emerges as timely for a surprisingly different reason.
Nicole Brydon Bloom stars as Sarah, a young woman who moves to Los Angeles to get away from her dad, after discovering him cheating. In the City of Angels, she finds an apartment complex that’s seemingly ideal, with a strong sense of community. After helping an elderly resident, she’s deemed as a natural fit for the closed-off collective of neighbours. But their supportive solidarity is more sinister than Sarah suspects, and what begins as a mildly eerie tale descends into downright dark horror.
An early confrontation threatens to tip things into uncomfortable, exploitation territory, but 1BR has more on its mind than that, and the longer it goes on, the more its claustrophobic study of conforming gets under your skin. Watching it at a time when peer pressure, groupthink and following rules – or not – are all things being navigated by every person, regardless of where they live, 1BR has an enjoyably prickly relevance that lies in social tensions as much as its nicely crafted atmosphere.
Nicole Brydon Bloom leads a strong cast, including the too-handsome-to-be-true neighbour (Giles Matthey), the overly welcoming building manager (Taylor Nichols) and mildly creepy Lester (Clayton Hoff). Together, they add up to a disturbing psychological thriller, one that turns the act of having a pet cat or standing against a wall into sources of unease – and considers the merit of the “greater good” in a scenario where those in power may not have individuals’ well-being in mind. A surprisingly rewarding pay-off cements the low-key horror as a simple but effective genre outing that may well become a cult favourite – and certainly serves as a promising calling card for debut director David Marmor.