Grant Mitchell

For the longest time I wasn’t a fan of horror movies. The reason why I didn’t like them was pretty plain and simple: horror movies will often times sacrifice plot, acting and dialogue for blood and gore.

As of late, however, I have come to appreciate many of the small detail-oriented facets that go into the making of a good horror film, either by incorporating a believable plot with great cinematography, acting and direction or by just making an outright scary movie.

Critics have also taken to reviewing horror movies off of their merit as a good horror film as well, not just holding them to the same biased and rudimentary standards of the past which left some great works of horror with poor reviews.

All of the pleasantries aside, I watched a horror movie a few days ago, and it sucked.

2019’s “1BR” was a movie I read about multiple times before I watched it.

Reviewers said it was good, giving it an 87% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, and many websites went so far as to list it in their top ten horror films to watch from recent years.

With those many good reviews and kind words, I jumped into the film expecting an interesting and inventive take on the horror genre.

While this is the part where I tell you the movie didn’t live up to the hype, I also want to emphasize the fact that being a film critic or commentator is a subjective thing.

The opinions that I and other film critics or commentators make are only our opinions that we are partial to. While some movies get picked up by critics and called exceptional entries to a genre, upon viewing, you may find this to be a boldfaced lie.

That is the exact feeling I had as I watched “1BR.”

The film takes place at an apartment complex that lures a girl in and takes her on as a tenant, but they take her in with the express interest of brainwashing her and indoctrinating her into their cult.

While the general setting of the horror film is unique to the idea of subjecting someone to a cult’s brainwashing, it’s hardly the first we’ve seen of this.

However, the real problems I have with this film come up pretty early in regards to the lead actress Nicole Brydon Bloom and some of her costars, who are just bad actors.

I don’t mean they are hammy, like many horror film actors are; they are a much worse thing than that. They are wooden, boring and unconvincing.

I recall watching one scene where the lead, Nicole Brydon Bloom, repeats a life mantra with Lisa, her friend from work.

In this scene, Lisa, played by Celeste Sully, says her line with the energy and conviction that you look for in any actor’s performance, but when the lead repeated her, it sounded like the monotone teacher from “Farris Bueller’s Day Off” was playing the role.

No emotion, no believable reactions and worst of all, no commitment.

Let me also mention that I watched that scene with my girlfriend, and it was such a bad line reading from Bloom that my girlfriend and I laughed.

I don’t mean we had a momentary snicker at bad acting -- rather, we full on laughed hard at how bad she was.

The biggest tragedy of the whole film for me was also in that scene because we saw the best actor of the film in Celeste Sully in one of her only scenes in the entire movie.

If Sully were made the lead, then the film would have been exponentially more entertaining to watch because, at least then, the lead actor would be giving us a character to root for and care about.

However, even if these changes were made there would still be a glaring issue that leaves “1BR” in the garbage bin.

The plot is so predictable.

I don’t mean I took 30 guesses and one of them happened to be right. I mean if anyone above the age of five watched this film, then they could predict everything that ends up happening.

When I finally finished watching this movie, I felt cheated and disappointed.

This was a movie whose lead actor was so bad that had a plot so predictable, I had to turn it off 30 minutes in and watch an entirely different movie.

The reason why you’re seeing this review for “1BR” by me is because after a two-hour break, I returned to finish this film so I could tear into it with a full knowledge and understanding of the plot and what happened.

If asked, I will always steer people away from this film and feel perplexed as to why so many critics liked it.

The only reason I don’t go on to critique this movie more is because I have a word limit on my column.

Grant Mitchell is a senior majoring in public relations. He can be reached at gmitch16@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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