Times are tough for movie lovers. Hell, times are tough for everyone really, so movie lovers shouldn’t really be complaining. What I mean is if one of your favorite pastimes is catching a new flick at the local theater, you’ve been out of luck for quite a while now. There are generally a lot of straight-to-home release films that would fall under many people’s radar, but maybe now is a perfect opportunity to give some of those movies a chance. I am always looking for the next great film; Read on to find out if David Marmor’s 1BR was just that.
Trying to start anew, Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom, The Affair) has found a dream Hollywood apartment. When strange noises and other disturbances keep her up at night, however, things quickly start to unravel. Sarah quickly learns that this dream apartment and the neighborly community aren’t quite as they first seemed and now must find a way to either adapt or be stuck in this new hell forever.
As someone who has been reviewing films for years, I get quite a few emails about new titles daily. I’m not going to lie. Most of the emails I get, I either delete right away or just read and never think twice about. Other times, new flicks catch my attention, leaving my interest piqued. 1BR was one of those titles.
I wasn’t able to catch this film right away, as you can tell. Now, over a month after it’s home video release, I was finally able to give this one my complete and utter attention… and it did not disappoint.
1BR features a talented cast with only one familiar face. That familiar face is veteran actor Alan Blumenfeld who I know I’ve seen many times over the last 33 years of my life, but still could not tell you one film or television show he’s done. Still, as the father of our protagonist Sarah, Blumenfeld plays his small role wonderfully. With that being said, the real credit must of course go to Nicole Brydon Bloom.
Bloom, as Sarah, is a timid girl who is trying to escape her past. She is quiet and doesn’t seem to be capable of sticking up for herself. This is shown at her new job and of course when attending the open house of the apartment which she would inevitably obtain.
This setup is perfect, as what’s to come throughout the film’s 90 minute runtime would truly test anyone’s mettle. I always try to keep my reviews spoiler free, so I will do so this time, as well. I will say, however, that Sarah is put through some very disturbing exercises of both physical and mental toughness, as her new “friendly neighbors” show their true colors.
In hopes of ridding Sarah of her selfishness and loneliness — something that everyone outside of the community is said to suffer from — tenants Brian (Giles Matthey, Ford v Ferrari), Jerry (Taylor Nichols, PEN15), Janice (Naomi Grossman, “American Horror Story”) and so many others take it upon themselves to teach her the four core foundations to live by. The means in which they do this is where the real horror of 1BR come in.
Writer and director, David Marmor, has created something truly entertaining here. This film is not overly gory, but it does feature some moments where the audience may need to look away briefly. It also isn’t overtly sly in trying to deliver it’s message that we, as a society, are somewhat lost in our mobile devices among other things. Still, a message of this nature is not uncommon in the horror genre, and 1BR certainly has an interesting way of trying to teach us of our wrongdoing.
Marmor’s creation of the character Sarah and more so Brydon Bloom’s portrayal of it are pretty fascinating to watch. There are moments where you think she is finally buying into what these cretins are selling and others where you can really see her wheels turning, hoping she’ll make her escape right that second. I wouldn’t say there is a huge change in her character by the end of the film, but she does find a little bit of herself that she never knew existed.
1BR at Home
1BR is now available to own on DVD and Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films. The film is presented in a 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen format and contains English 5.1 and English 2.0 audio tracks. There are also optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The last few reviews I wrote were about releases that didn’t feature much bonus content. This new home release of 1BR on the other hand features quite a bit of supplemental material. There are seven separate audio interview tracks from various film festivals featuring many members of the cast and crew, an audio review from the Nightmares Film Festival, a video Q&A from the film’s premiere at Fantasia film festival 2019, and more.
People complain often that the horror genre doesn’t have anything to offer anymore but remakes and reboots, re-hashings and re-tellings. This couldn’t be further from the truth and you really don’t even need to look that hard to find some great content from great filmmakers, new and old. I am not familiar with any other work by David Marmor, but I can honestly say that 1BR is a good film from start to finish and should be given a fair chance by all.
Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself today, as I give this film 4 Foundations out of 5.