Writer-director David Marmor talks to STACK about his unpredictable indie horror-thriller, Apartment 1BR.
Having wowed audiences at last year’s Monster Fest, the sleeper hit Apartment 1BR is the story of a country girl who arrives in LA and takes up residence in a one-bedroom apartment, where she is tormented by strange noises and threatening notes…
While the synopsis might sound generic, unassuming viewers are in for a treat, because what lies within is a thoroughly engaging thriller that cleverly flirts with the conventions of the genre.
Speaking with STACK, writer-director David Marmor reflects on the film’s ambiguity. “It’s really difficult to talk about without spoiling anything,” he says with a frazzled grin, “and I do feel like the movie is best seen when knowing as little as possible.”
When asked about promoting a film that is best left vague, he adds, “We went back and forth with our distributor when we were doing the trailer and we drove them crazy, because we kept saying, ‘You’ve got to take all the spoilers out’, and it’s really hard to make a trailer without spoiling it. In the end I think they did a great job, but we all felt that it was really important to have people go in not knowing what some of the secrets are.”
Such careful marketing is a reflection of the response Marmor and his producers received from audiences, and it could be said that the film arrived at a fortuitous time when similarly independent and acclaimed horror films like Get Out and Hereditary were on the rise.
“The funny thing is that this script has been kicking around for a long time. I think it’s one of these things where the timing of it was just really lucky,” he concurs. “These things take so long to put together that you can’t really try to time it, and I feel like the culture and my sensibilities kind of just magically aligned.”
The impressive ensemble cast includes seasoned players like Taylor Nichols (Godzilla), Alan Blumenfeld (War Games) and Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), but it’s the amazing performance from lead Nicole Brydon Bloom that solidifies the story and adds gravitas.
“We auditioned so many people… and as soon as I saw her audition she went to the top of my list,” says the director. “I could tell that she was really smart and made choices that matched my own sensibilities.”
While Bloom excels in her first leading role, the part initially went to a more high profile star. “The producers had an opportunity to cast a woman who was relatively well known, who was the star of her own TV show and was interested in the role, but who I felt was completely wrong for the part,” explains Marmor. “They told me that because we’re a small film, if we cast her then we are immediately in a bigger league. And I couldn’t argue with that. They were putting up the money, and so I said that I would do everything within my power to make it work.
“I eventually started feeling really good about it, having worked with her for a little bit, but then four or five days before shooting she just suddenly dropped out with no explanation. It actually almost destroyed the production. So then we gave Nicole a call and luckily she said yes immediately. I mean we got so lucky. She is such a lovely person and she was so professional.”
The makers of Apartment 1BR also felt confident enough to leave the door slightly ajar should audiences demand a sequel, and when asked about expanding the story, Marmor is reluctant to divulge any details.
“I can’t say too much, but those conversations have been had. The movie has performed better than anybody has expected, and since its release the producers have been having serious thoughts about a sequel, and I certainly have a lot more I can say about this story. I feel like there are opportunities to look both forwards and backwards.”