The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Digital] - APARTMENT 1BR | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Digital] - APARTMENT 1BR

apartment 1br movie review
A young woman's dream apartment comes with a catch.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: David Marmor

Starring: Naomi Grossman, Taylor Nichols, Alan Blumenfeld, Giles Matthey, Andrea Gabriel

apartment 1br movie poster

Writer/director David Marmor's Apartment 1BR is the latest addition to an under-rated horror sub-genre, the one in which our protagonist moves into an apartment complex and after being initially made to feel welcome, soon comes to realise that something very untoward is going on behind their neighbour's doors. Key examples of this include Paul Bartel's Private Parts, Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby and Tobe Hooper's remake of The Toolbox Murders.

apartment 1br movie review

Marmor's unwitting tenant is Sarah (Nicola Brydon Bloom), a recent arrival to Los Angeles who is struggling to fulfil her dreams of becoming a dressmaker. She's stuck in an unrewarding temping job, where her good nature is exploited by a boss who manipulates her into working extra hours without pay, and she desperately wants to get out of the crummy apartment she shares with her cat. One day Sarah attends a viewing of an apartment in an idyllic complex, where the residents, a mix of all races and generations, greet her with warmth. She thinks it's out of her league, so she's surprised when she gets a call to inform her the apartment is hers.

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Sarah moves in and all goes well at first, but there's one problem - the complex operates a strict "no pets" policy, and Sarah receives an angrily worded letter under her door letting her know that she's not fooling anybody by keeping her cat hidden away. Trying to keep her furbaby quiet will soon be the least of her worries, as Sarah soon discovers she's been chosen as the newest member of the Scientology-on-steroids cult that runs the complex.

apartment 1br movie review

Apartment 1BR has the feel of a 1970s ABC Movie of the Week, a low key psychological drama focussed on character and slow-burning menace rather than more outré thrills. It takes its time building up Sarah's standoffish relationship with her wannabe cult comrades, and slowly trickles out information regarding the latter's philosophy. The cult, formed by an L Ron Hubbard type glimpsed in instructional videos, is a reaction to the increasing isolation and narcissism of contemporary urban life.

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Much like the Pagan islanders of The Wicker Man, you may find yourself nodding in agreement with Apartment 1BR's cult in regards to some of their complaints regarding how self-obsessed we've all become. Yet their self-styled utopia is clearly a failed experiment, with people of all creeds and colours forced to put aside their differences for the good of a larger social unit. Sounds great on paper, but that's not how humans work, and so, like every well meaning political philosophy based around the greater good, violence comes into play as a way of coercing those who resist.

apartment 1br movie review

I increasingly find myself wondering if many indie horror movies wouldn't be more effective as episodes of an anthology show, and regrettably this crossed my mind once again with Apartment 1BR, as it hits a dramatic wall around the hour mark and struggles to hold our interest as it lumbers towards an effective twist ending (albeit one very similar to another indie horror from a few years ago). Onscreen for almost every frame of the movie, it's ultimately Bloom's performance, which keeps us guessing as to just how brainwashed she's become, that makes this lodging worth a rent.

Apartment 1BR is on UK Digital from June 8th.

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