Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fantasia '19: 1BR has Strange Tenants and Culty Landlords: A Film Review

Director/writer: David Marmor.

Cast: Naomi Grossman, Giles Matthey, Taylor Nichols, Nicole Brydon Bloom and Andrea Gabriel.

1BR had its World Premiere in Montreal this July. A Malevolent Films production, the film took its script from the director's personal experience living in Los Angeles. The film deals with cults and may even take its influences from Scientology. Focusing on the character Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom), 1BR offers a few twists and turns as the film switches genres early in Act I. 1BR is definitely one to head out to.

The film focuses centrally on Sarah. She has just moved to Los Angeles, leaving behind a troubling family conflict. In Los Angeles, she sets herself up in a residence, where everyone is a bit too happy. After settling in, the torture begins as Sarah is initiated into a modern cult; she is unable to escape on her own. Accepting her situation, there is a late opportunity to leave the cult, but it is a bloody path to follow.

Writer David Marmor takes some of his influences from Scientology and the Manson cult as mentioned in an after screening Q & A. So, this cult is based in reality. The cultists have their own tenents and initiation. There is even a ritualized branding. All of the cult members and their strange behaviours are realistic or set-up well. 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. Once a friend intervenes, on Sarah's behalf, minor and major characters meet their demise. No one is safe in 1BR. Even the ending leaves events open for a potential sequel.

1BR has just finished two showings at Fantasia. The film will screen at future festivals. It was great to see the cast and crew at the event, answering questions. Meanwhile, Sarah's escape from a believable cult might only be temporary. 1BR should be on every horror fan's radar.

Overall: 7.5 our of 10.

*the filmmakers have not ruled out a sequel, to this film.

1BR at Fantasia: Fantasia Story Details

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