1BR - Grimmfest 2019
Directed by David Marmor
I was immediately intrigued when the synopsis of ‘1BR’ on IMDB said, “Plot being kept under wraps.” The less you know about this film the better. Letting the story unfold without any prior knowledge, truly makes it something extremely intense and startling to observe. A twisted blend of ‘The Invitation’ meets ‘Midsommar’; it leaves little time to let you settle in, quite swiftly unleashing the unrelenting madness upon an audience that is literally put through the wringer.
Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom) is quiet and reserved, trying to break free from a life she would rather forget. Moving in to a new flat with a welcoming community is her first step, but of course, not everything is what it seems!
That is all you are getting. After all, the greatness of this film unequivocally spawns from the mystery it is doused in.
Nicole Brydon Bloom does an excellent job as not just the helpless victim, but as a receptacle for the audiences own thoughts and feelings. Every facial expression or idea she has, is that of the audiences. From the priceless look of horror on her face when we are thinking ‘What the f**k is going on now?’ to the fierce torture inflicted which we accompany her through. We are left questioning every moment just as Sarah does, examining all sadistic actions. Every moment of this making us feel personally part of the surreal ordeal thrust upon our protagonist.
The sound and visual editing during ‘torture’ scenes is masterful. A deafening electrical hum accompanies every painful shot, pushing the audience through the duress that Sarah undergoes. Sudden jump cuts with strobe flashes, disorientating us at every step and never letting you find comfort, create a great effect that was expertly implemented.
This is Director David Marmor’s feature debut and it is definitely something to behold. The film quite clearly has a low budget, but the acting, writing and overall production is phenomenally put together. Letting us only glimpse at its CGI gore, giving us the smallest taste but not enough to question its quality. This ultimately works greatly in its favour. The casting of actors with so-so skills in any other film would be a distraction, but here they somehow work with the oddball characters they play.
It was a tremendous ride throughout, although the ending was unfortunately hit and miss. With such a strong second act it annoyingly spiralled into something quite generic and predictable. I was really hoping for another resolution which I thought I could see materialising, but it never quite got there. It luckily pulled itself back slightly with its memorable final scenes that are ever so haunting and fantastically clever.