Starting over in a new city, all by yourself can be very hard... or it could be a nightmare. Unfortunately for the main character of the mind numbing thriller 1BR, she learned that lesson the hard way after moving into her new complex and things take an unexpected, sinister turn for the worst. The film was written and directed by David Marmor and while it seems our main character Sarah (perfectly played by actress Nicole Brydon Bloom) has moved into the perfect new community, she has no idea the physical and mental torture she's about to endure to be a part of that community. The film definitely takes some pretty epic twists and turns throughout its hour and a half runtime, and it has plenty of scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of where the story is going. Honestly, the film is incredibly well written, easy to follow, and well executed; so much so, I had a hard time even explaining the film to a friend of mine because the progression this film takes is so wild, it's hard to do the film justice when explaining how crazy it is. If you're a fan of films that touch on torture, indocturation, cult-like followings and mental deprivation, 1BR is an excellent film to add to your watchlist as it covers all of those, and it covers them all extraordinarily well! It's been a few days since I've seen it and even looking back at it now, it's very hard to pick apart the movie to find something not to like.
Like I mentioned, Sarah is trying to start over by moving to LA to live out her dream job. In the meantime, she takes on a temp job and applies to a beautiful, private complex filled with smiling neighbors. When she gets approved, she's ecstatic and eager to get into her new home; and once she's moved in, she's dying to get out. Things turn ugly when she gets kidnapped, held against her will, and mentally and physically tortured by her loving her neighbors, as they indocturate her into their new community by first punishing her for breaking their rules, then by forcing her to learn their four pillars of community. And until she is fully committed and accepted as a member of their cult-like, self-sustaining "community," she is forced to undergo despicable torture tactics to brainwash her into believing their bullshit. Will Sarah be able to overtake her new neighbors and escape from their glorified hellhole, or will the community succeed in conditioning her into believing they're doing the right thing?!
Sarah is a super likeable, cute soul who you'll find yourself rooting for throughout the movie, and Nicole Brydon Bloom did an outstanding job in her performance; you'll see her hurt, you'll see her pain and her torment, but you'll see the inner battle on Bloom's face as her character has tries to figure out what the fuck she can do. The "leader" of the community Jerry (Taylor Nichols) has the complex locked in, so it's not like Sarah can just walk out the front door and escape the mental prison she's now confined to; at the lowest point, I'm sure she feels its either become one of them, or die. For a movie that relies on facial expressions and tone, Bloom knocked it out of the park in this film; you'll experience the pain and mental struggle right alongside Sarah because of her performance. The torture you'll find in 1BR - while it's nothing as gory and absurd as the SAW series - is enough to make you cringe and wince as it's played out, and for good reason. Films like 1BR have an element to them that is shared with some of the most impactful horrors in the genre, and that is the realism factor. While the events in the film are certainly crazy, they're not entirely impossible, and that realism element to the movie is what makes them just a hint more scary than a monster movie. The events that unfold are not something a real life madman couldn't force upon people, and that element helps make 1BR so damn good.
Nothing about the film feels cheap or weak; the film pretty much only takes place in the apartment complex so the sets are pretty standard, the gore effects are totally well done and realistic (can you tell I'm really trying not to spoil what any of them are?!), and all of the cast came off legitimate and real. The film doesn't feel at all like a B movie or a cash grab, which I know some people worry about; 1BR has the great quality to match the great storytelling. I thought the film was excellently executed and well done, and I'm honestly pretty excited to see what director David Marmor has coming up next - if it's another horror or thriller written or delivered the way he did with this film, I think our community is in for a treat. While over-the-top blood-fest slashers are the blood beneath our veins, it's the real life horror films like 1BR that keeps our heart rate at an exhilarating high. 1BR is well worth both your time and money, and I think you'll love the film just as much as I did, pretty much from the first half hour. Check it out!