1BR – USA, 2019 – reviews

1BR is a 2019 American horror thriller feature film in which a supposed dream apartment in Hollywood becomes a waking nightmare when the terrified young female tenant starts to wonder if she’s actually home alone.

Written and directed by David Marmor, making his feature debut, the Malevolent Films production stars Nicole Brydon Bloom, Alan Blumenfeld, Taylor Nichols (Jurassic Park III), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Giles Matthey, Earnestine Phillips and Susan Davis.

The soundtrack score was composed by Ronen Landa (The Pact; At the Devil’s Door).

Plot:

After leaving behind a painful past to follow her dreams, Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom) scores the perfect Hollywood apartment. However, something is not right. Unable to sleep, tormented by strange noises, and threatening notes, her new life quickly starts to unravel. By the time she learns the horrifying truth, it’s too late.

Caught in a waking nightmare, Sarah must find the strength to hold onto her crumbling sanity…or be trapped forever in an existential hell…

Release:

1BR had its world premiere on July 18th at the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Canada.

Reviews:

1BR works so well due to the believability of its lead. Bloom impresses as Sarah who oscillates between rabbit in the headlights and grim determination. So desperate to move on and be independent that she can’t see what’s happening around her. Marmor’s film is a very modern fable.” Backseat Mafia

” …grounded in character, with tense, dramatically unfolding set-pieces, and scenes that make me squirm with equal parts terror and delight. Its themes involving cult mentalities, toxic relationships, and assisted suicide make the film an interesting companion to this year’s Midsommar…” Birth. Movies. Death.

“Marmor’s feature debut […] is a cousin of Rosemary’s Baby in which the occult is replaced by mere brainwashing and the eerie glamour of Central Park luxury decomposes into the generic architecture of a Los Angeles starter apartment. Taken on its own terms, it’s a solid if hardly revolutionary thriller that bodes well for the filmmaker’s future in genre films.” The Hollywood Reporter

” …the clumsy execution paired with uneven and unfocused approach make it feel like an unfinished product: this is one of those frustrating cases where you could tell there were elements to make a great film, but the end result was just a mildly entertaining compilation of great ideas.” Horror World and Reviews

“Although 1BR spent a little more time showing me what was behind door #3 than throwing me into that room, it’s still worth crediting the team for making 3 films wrapped into 1, with a single location that can feel welcoming, claustrophobic, and of another world in a short period of time.” Nightmare on Film Street

” …it takes the bolder route of immersing us in the horror of losing free-will, while Bloom’s nimble, frightened and then submissive performance does not lose sight of the woman she once was before she started to accept the ways of the group. All of this boldness pays off—the film’s third act might end at an expected place, but 1BR stands out with how it gets there, and the unique horror along the way.” RogerEbert.com

“Marmor’s narrative takes the concept and goes to a really interesting extreme place with it, but the film feels somewhat subdued in execution. Throw in a bit more chaos, some aggressive camerawork, perhaps a bit more tension building, and I think 1BRcould’ve worked better.” Screen Anarchy

“It takes the viewer through a gauntlet of emotions and responses, many of them by all metrics deeply unpleasant, and because of this, it falls very firmly in the ‘not for everyone’ camp. But audience members willing to plumb the darker end of the emotional spectrum will find much to like in 1BR. It’s a harrowing, unnerving, experience, but one nevertheless worth having.” Sordid Cinema

“Without revealing too much, David Marmor’s directorial debut is a well-executed and thrilling 90 minutes. While there are some horror tropes and obvious bits of familiar in the beginning, this is an effective psychological thriller that doesn’t play into the expected. Its themes are in your face and the Marmor’s script is tight and well-paced, keeping the audience guessing throughout.” That Moment In

“It would be overwhelming and ultimately unsatisfying, as well as impossible, if every movie we saw was Completely New. 1BR captures the suffocation of the coercive integration of a fully free individual into a monolithic social unit.” 366 Weird Movies

“The film is developed from a solid foundation, leading to real terror. Along the way, 1BR offers a surprise or two. Suspense and drama are left behind in favour of more horror and thriller elements. The reasons for Sarah’s torture is not immediately known. Meanwhile, the scenes of torture are graphic.” 28 Days Later Analysis

“With its aspects of human captivity, brainwashing, collective insanity and ersatz utopianism, Marmor could have taken his story in myriad tonal directions. But instead of a wild ride, his film emerges a competent one that holds the attention, yet also feels like a missed chance at something truly memorable from a promisingly offbeat premise.” Variety

Cast and characters:

  • Nicole Brydon Bloom … Sarah
  • Alan Blumenfeld … Gus
  • Giles Matthey … Brian
  • Taylor Nichols … Jerry
  • Earnestine Phillips … Ester
  • Susan Davis … Miss Stanhope
  • Andrea Gabriel … Cristina
  • Mark Krenik … BBQ Guest Hungry
  • Celeste Sully … Lisa
  • Tracy Déchaux … Neighbour
  • Hailey Giles … Diane
  • Curtis Webster … Charles D. Ellerby
  • Jerry Ying … Officer Cho
  • Clayton Hoff … Lester
  • Luke Pacheco … Apartment Hunter

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Production:

1BR was produced by Alok Mishra and Shane Vorster for Malevolent Films, and Allard Cantor and Jarrod Murray for Epicenter, as well as Nic Izzi and Sam Sandweiss. The film was executive produced by Peter Phok.

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