1BR (2020)

Going in to “1BR,” its pretty clears that director David Marmor takes pages from Ira Levin’s psyche, reflecting many themes and ideas the author was known for. Director David Marmor builds a simplistic but absolutely harrowing thriller that confronts similar feminine themes. “1BR” feels so much like a movie torn out from 1979 and altered for modern times. That element works for the movie, as the lack of more modern constructs gives his thriller a very timeless displaced feeling. This sense of aesthetic contributes to the sheer claustrophobia and alienation that character Sarah experiences.

After leaving behind a painful past to follow her dreams, Sarah scores the perfect Hollywood apartment in a quaint cul de sac. But something is not right. Unable to sleep, she is tormented by strange noises and threatening notes; suddenly 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 pay the price for normality.

Although, “1BR” is bound to be compared to the likes of Roman Polanski’s horror film, “1BR” is very much about modern sensibilities and the idea a larger structure trying to do what they think is “best” for their denizens. The larger villain of the piece completely discourages the idea of personal electronics, and yet watches every single move their community makes through high tech cameras, monitors and computer systems. “1BR” is a lot about bigger government and corporate control, while also working as a character piece for Nicole Brydon Bloom’s central protagonist. She’s a young girl running from her past, running from her emotions, and looking for a means of re-inventing herself.

When she finds seemingly the perfect setting to set the wheels in to motion, she’s once again forced in to the idea of normality, meeting expectations thrust upon her. “1BR” is filled with a collective of great performances, from Giles Matthey and Taylor Nichols to star Nicole Brydon Bloom, respectively. Brydon Bloom especially radiates shades of Mia Farrow and Anya Taylor Joy, successfully sucking us in to her extraordinary circumstance from minute one. That said, I found the introduction of a secondary character in the finale a bit far fetched, and it felt a lot like Marmor was merely struggling to find a logical resolution at the cost of suspension of disbelief.

It’s also never quite apparent to what end the collective was working for with new recruits and their overall goals. In either case, those flaws don’t detract from the very stressful and intense experience that is “1BR.” It’s an absolutely top notch thriller with ace direction from David Marmor that warrants a larger audience.