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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Review: 1BR

Director: David Marmor
Screenplay: David Marmor
Year: 2020

Usually, I do all that I can to avoid watching trailers for a movie to be able to enjoy it as unknowing of the plot as possible. With independent movies, this task is a lot easier as their promotion is normally not as aggressive as with the higher budget releases. This was the case with “1BR”, a movie in which I was so efficient avoiding any sort of previous information that I expected it to be a supernatural horror and its brainwashing topic caught me by surprise in the best way.

Sarah moves to Los Angeles with the expectation of becoming a clothing designer in Hollywood. While she seeks for a place to live, she finds an apartment that is ideal for her in a community that seems to be close and friendly. Sarah gets the apartment, but once she moves in to live in it, she starts noticing that her neighbors are not what they seem. 

As soon as Sarah arrives at the apartment complex you can feel that something is not right, but it’s hard to point out what is wrong. This discomfort lasts for the whole movie and accentuates as the plot starts unfolding and with every plot twist that takes it to a new level of madness and these twists don’t take long to start happening. Some of the twists are expected, but they still are surprising and effective in moving the topic towards unexpected scenarios that keep the viewer not sure of what to expect next.

The great work of Marmor to establish the tone of the movie and the story that is told through it is only half of why it is so effective at what it does. The other half are the excellent performances of the cast, starring Nicole Brydon Bloom, Giles Matthey (“Jobs”), and Naomi Grossman (“American Horror Story”). The interpretation of Nicole Brydon Bloom as Sarah is the most important because it is who we follow and with whom we discover the different things that happen in this community and she does a great work of showing the characters weaknesses and her development, but we are witnesses to the evolution of other characters that are important for the development and resolution of the plot.

In Marmor’s script, everything that is shown has a purpose and comes full circle, although at some point the foreshadowing is not subtle. The overarching topic of the movie is community life and how in modern times, especially in metropolitan cities, we live around many persons but not in community, but other subtopics are also presented such as facing fears, overcoming weaknesses, and, of course, extremist cults. All of this is shown with great pacing until the very end, which seems to be a tribute to two horror movies, a classic and a contemporary one that I will not reveal to avoid spoiling the moment. 

“1BR” is the debut of director and screenwriter David Marmor in both roles and the final product puts him straight in the list of directors to follow in the horror genre. The great story presented along with the ominous ambient and excellent acting keeps the tension high and the good pacing manages to keep the viewer engaged and not wanting to blink. “1BR” is an interesting take on modern community life and how there are persons that are not fit for this lifestyle.

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