Apartment 1BR

November 2, 2020

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Falling on the right side of torture porn in some instances and successfully getting under your skin everywhere else, Apartment 1BR is a fiercely enjoyable feature length debut.
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Apartment 1BR

John Noonan
Year: 2019
Rating: MA
Director: David Marmor
Cast:

Nicole Brydon Bloom, Taylor Nichols, Giles Matthey

Distributor: Eagle Entertainment
Format:
Released: November 4, 2020
Running Time: 90 minutes
Worth: $15.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Falling on the right side of torture porn in some instances and successfully getting under your skin everywhere else, Apartment 1BR is a fiercely enjoyable feature length debut.

The series of lockdowns that have occurred across the globe has meant that nearly everyone, to some extent, has had to get to know their neighbours, whether they wanted to or not. While being forced to listen to your neighbour play Tool’s Lateralus for the fourth time that day at full volume is certainly annoying, writer and director David Marmor suggests it could be a whole lot worst.

Nicole Brydon Bloom plays Sarah, a wannabe costume designer who’s moved to LA to escape her father. Looking for somewhere to live that isn’t a flea ridden hotel room, Sarah strikes gold with an apartment block that seems to have everything she needs. The rent is affordable, she gets along with her building manager Jerry (Taylor Nichols) and it doesn’t hurt that her neighbour, Brian (Giles Matthey, Ford Vs Ferrari) is a bit of a hotty. Sure, Jerry’s no pet policy is a bit of a wrinkle, what with Sarah owning a kitty, but what the neighbours don’t know won’t hurt them, right?

From this minor feline discretion, Apartment 1BR blossoms into something all the more claustrophobic. Sarah is kept awake at night by noises her neighbours seem oblivious to and notes are pushed under her door suggesting someone wants to do her harm. It’s not long before the truth comes out and Apartment 1BR evolves into a much nastier film than anticipated.

There’s a fascination with cults that runs through the film’s second half and Marmor manages to make a good stab at grounding the proceedings. Sharing similar themes with Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation, Marmor’s characters are cut from realistic cloth even if what they say or do is outlandishly odd or violent. Through the two-faced Jerry, the director seems to pre-empt any doubting Tommies in the audience who have come pre-loaded with a verbose ‘well, actually…’

On a side note, Apartment 1BR isn’t an overtly political film. However, it’s not hard to see how the pursuit of a perfect utopia, preceded by obeying all rules without questions, can be grafted onto your political punching bag of choice should you be so inclined. In the current state of tribalism in politics, there’s a discourse hidden in Apartment 1BR that could lead to many a lively pub debate.

Back to the film, and once the curtain has been pulled back on Sarah’s dire situation, Apartment 1BR does lose its sense of urgency. As Sarah adapts to her new life in the apartment block, along with its rules and forced marriages, you can find yourself waiting impatiently for the other shoe to drop. That said though, once it does, and the enormity of what Sarah is up against is revealed, it’s worth the wait.

Falling on the right side of torture porn in some instances and successfully getting under your skin everywhere else, Apartment 1BR is a fiercely enjoyable feature length debut.

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