Thursday 6 August 2020

Apartment 1BR

One of the most stressful things you can ever do is moving house. It doesn’t matter if your new place is rented, furnished, bought, needs work done to it, it will always be stressful. Even when you’re moved in, everything is in its place, there’s the neighbours to meet, the neighbourhood to explore, everything is new and takes getting used to. ‘Apartment 1BR’ takes this feeling to a whole new level.


Having just moved to a new city to start afresh, take a course and work on her costume designs, Sarah moves into her new apartment with a tight knit, yet welcoming community of neighbours. At first, everything is going well for Sarah but she just can’t get a decent night’s sleep. This impacts her work, her attitude, she distances herself from her family and even turns down a dinner party with her new neighbours. But there is something even more sinister going on behind closed doors, something that she is about to be a part of, whether she likes or not.




From the outset there is something off putting about the neighbours and the apartment. Its literally too good to be true but the catch doesn’t come until later. Setting itself up to be story about a haunting or possession of some kind, particularly with the weird noises that only seem to affect Sarah’s apartment, the film twists this expectation on its head to something unusual, despite the obvious signs when you think back or go in for a second viewing.


The story slips back into the horror thriller genre very comfortably between the torture ‘treatment’ scenes and the realisation that this is what everyone went through when they moved into the building. The initiation process is the most gruelling, with every step she takes deeper into the group’s beliefs. But the truly horrific moments are when she watches and lets her old friend go through everything she did, all seen on monitors which are placed around the entire building. Of course, the spine-chilling moments are taken up a notch when a set of cameras are seen in the CCTV room and the question of who is watching them watch everyone else doesn’t pay off until the very end. It’s a very clever and subtle moment of realisation for Sarah and it’s just an image that speaks volumes.


Sarah is a prime target for a radical delusional group, complete with a book written by a ‘great man’ years before, is reminiscent of other films abouts cults and even real ones, why is there always a book involved with cults? ‘Apartment 1BR’ bears a strong resemblance to ‘The Invitation’, another film about a cult, both are subtle and restrained, creating an uneasy sense of dread. Although, ‘Apartment 1BR’ has the advantage of tricking the viewer they are about to watch a completely different film.


As a production plagued by disasters, the film comes out unscathed. Resisting the trend of other films of the same genre, the story and characters really explore the fact that real horror is other people no matter where you find yourself.