Apartment 1BR (2019) Ending Explained – Did Sarah Get Away??

Apartment 1BR Ending Explained

I’ve just got done with our review of Apartment 1BR. The ending to this movie was fairly straightforward. I thought I should probably put together a quick Ending Explained article for it, anyway. Feel free to go and check out that review. Maybe you agree with my opinion, perhaps not. I found it to be a pretty enjoyable film. It’s an easy watch, doesn’t drag its feet too much and has an original plot.

As mentioned above, the ending was fairly self explanatory. There is a slight twist, though, that is worth going into a little deeper. I found the ending to be a little on the predictable side. It’s easy to see what’s coming but we will get into that a little more below.

This is obviously going to be an article filled with spoilers. It also features minor spoilers to the 2016 movie The Invitation. If you haven’t watched Apartment 1BR yet, definitely stop reading right now. Check out the review, hunt the movie down and watch. You can then come back and check out this article. Without further ado, let’s take a look.

Apartment 1BR – Events So Far

So we have been following the story of Sarah as she moves into a new apartment in LA. The residents seem welcoming if not a little quirky. One, in particular, freaks her out a little. He wears glasses with one blacked out lens and seems very awkward. Everyone else seems okay and the residents share a positive life view. They talk about how they are a community and help each other. Sarah buys into this and is quick to assist Miss Stanhope after the welcoming party.


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The only real negative so far is the horrible banging noises that are keeping Sarah up at night. She buys earplugs but they don’t seem to help. Sleep deprived and running out of her anti-depressants, Sarah is becoming Anxious.

Brian breaks in and ties Sarah up

On top of this, Sarah has, apparently, broken a sacred rule. She has sneaked a cat into her apartment against the terms of her lease. A threatening letter has been pushed through her door. Sarah is unaware who sent it to her and feels suspicious of everyone. Paranoid and exhausted, she passes out one night after spending time with a friend.

Apartment 1BR – Shit Gets Real

Sarah is woken by the smell of something burning. Walking through her pitch black apartment. She spots a letter informing her that her lease is terminated. Noticing something in the oven, she checks to find her cat horribly burned. Suddenly, someone attacks her and ties her to a chair.

From this point on the horror element takes a back seat. The effective home invasion scene featuring neighbour Brian is impactful. It is also the last true horror scene in the movie. Sarah is now being conditioned. The residents want to break her and force her to join the cult. She is already sleep deprived. Jerry and Brian now use stress positions, degrading speech and violence to break Sarah’s spirit.

Apartment 1BR Ending Explained
Lester has previously resisted conditioning and was punished

This is all stuff that is well documented as taking place in cults. We have a “charismatic” leader that defined the rules of the cult. The community then carries on his traditions. All of the residents of the complex have been through the same ordeal. Each has, themselves, suffered the same conditioning. The things you see in Apartment 1BR are, obviously, well researched. This is exactly how cults break a person down to make them easy to manipulate. Sarah is, also, the exact type of person they would target. New to the town, limited connections, a need for friends and a psychiatric condition.

Apartment 1BR – Sarah Joins the Cult

Sarah eventually breaks down and submits to the cult. She begins to believe that having a group of people that care for each other is a good thing. Sarah enjoys being around her neighbours and feels accepted in the group. She forgets the torture she underwent and sees it as necessary. It isn’t long, however, before the realities of the cult hit.

Sarah is paired off with the very person she found utterly creepy earlier on – Lester. He recently lost his wife and hand picked Sarah. He is the reason she is there. Her friend, Miss Stanhope, falls ill. The group promptly assists Miss Stanhope in committing suicide. She has no use to the group now and needs to go. Sarah is traumatised. Many of the realities of the cult seem incredibly harsh.

Apartment 1BR – Onto the Ending

The cult has picked Sarah’s friend Lisa to be the next resident. Her personality is a match with the late Miss Stanhope and they believe Sarah will appreciate having a friend there. Sarah agrees to help with her induction. Lisa moves in and goes through the same things as Sarah. The cult attempt to break her spirit but Lisa fights back. Sarah is sent in to try and convince her.

Apartment 1BR Ending Explained
Stress positions are used to break Sarah’s personality

Lisa tells Sarah that she is brainwashed. Sarah disagrees and tells Lisa how much she needs the cult. She tells her it will give purpose to her life. Lisa attempts to escape but Jerry pushes her back into the room. Jerry tells Sarah to hold an ice pick to Lisa’s ear so that he can hammer it in. He wants to punish Lisa in the same way he punished Lester, hoping to force compliance.

Apartment 1BR – A Quick Escape

Predictably, Sarah won’t hurt her friend and stabs Jerry in the neck with the ice pick. Helping Lisa out of the room, alarms sounding, the pair head for freedom. Jerry shoots Lisa in the back. Sarah rage kills him, takes the gun and keys before running out. Reaching the courtyard, the residents begin to close in on her. Sarah begs them to leave. She tells Lester he can finally be free. The residents don’t listen and Lester looks reluctant. Brian appears and pleads with her. Sarah threatens to shoot him. Brian tells her she doesn’t have the balls to do it. Sarah responds with a gunshot to his chest. She bails, quickly followed by the residents.

Making it to the door, she hammers the button to open it. The group of residents, headed up by Lester, are closing in. A man grabs hold of her while Lester takes her gun. Believing she is about to be killed, Sarah is shocked as Lester shoots the man who is holding her and tells her to go.

Sarah, seeing Lester being grabbed by the group, begs him to come with her. He puts the gun to his chin, the door shuts and he shoots himself dead. He is finally free of the group, as he always wanted to be. Sarah runs away.

Apartment 1BR – The Twist

The final twist to Apartment 1BR is very similar to that of The Invitation. Remember how, in The Invitation, the survivors spot lights in the other houses? They realise that the cult’s influence is all over the city and people are dying in every house. Apartment 1BR’s ending twist is almost a facsimile of that. Stopping to look for help, Sarah notices that the sign for the apartment complex she is standing outside of is familiar. It features the logo that was on the cake she was given when she joined the cult. There is a camera on the wall just like the one on the wall at the complex she just escaped from.

Apartment 1BR Ending Explained
Alarms sound throughout the street indicating the cult is far bigger than Sarah realised

An alarm sounds. Sarah realises that this apartment complex is also part of the cult. Seconds later another alarm sounds, then another, then another. It quickly becomes clear that most of the apartment complexes in the area belong to the cult. The same thing that happened to Sarah will be happening in all of these places. The cult is far larger than she realised. Indeed, it is everywhere. Someone is overwatching all of these factions of the cult. It is likely wider reaching than she could have imagined. Terrified, Sarah runs off determined to escape.

But Who Was Watching Them?

This is, perhaps, the final question left to answer when it comes to Apartment 1BR. At one point in the movie Brian and Sarah are watching the residents via the monitors. Sarah looks up and sees a camera aimed at them. She asks Brian who is watching them. He replies, sounding almost scared, that they should never ask that question. Well, who was it?

I think the answer to this is somewhat implied by the actions of the residents. The ending also further confirms it. The residents have all been indoctrinated the way Sarah was. They all seek to reinforce their specific rules. Given the fact that the cult has now managed to penetrate many facets of society. As indicated by the alarms at the end. It is safe to assume that the different complexes are linked by one overriding group that watches them all.

When one complex suffers a rebellion, the others are put on alert. This could be so that they can work together to recapture the missing person. It could also be to send notice to the other apartments to bring any weaker members into line. This isn’t exactly a satisfying conclusion. In fact, it is a bit boring and a bit on the obvious side. It is the most likely explanation, though. It seems like something of a commentary on government. Again, this would be in line with some of the movie’s other nods to society as a whole.

But Maybe…?

It could, in a bit of an outside theory, be that Sarah’s actions have sparked mass rebellion. Maybe the apartments do watch each other and each of them witnessed what happened to Sarah. This, in turn, prompted other members to do the same. The result being that each complex is now experiencing what Sarah’s did.

Perhaps someone was watching Sarah from a different complex. They decided to do exactly what she did. Realising that they didn’t have to be part of the cult. They fight back and try to escape. The next complex, in turn, has the exact same thing happen. So on and so forth.

This is, by far, a more interesting idea. It popped into my head as I came to write this article. It just doesn’t feel very likely, though. Although, once again, it fits with the social commentary. Rebellion against set rules often sparks more rebellion. We have no solid indicator that the apartments are actually watching each other. If they were, the highest up person would be given the task. They would be the least likely to rebel out of all the residents. It just doesn’t fit particularly well but I would love it if this was the actual reality of the ending.

A Rather Bleak Ending

Naturally, this is one of those rather depressing, slightly hopeless endings. Lisa is dead, Lester is dead, Sarah has escaped but the cult is bigger than she realised. It is likely that many elements of society are influenced by it and it may be spreading. Could this set up a sequel? Perhaps, but it would be hard to see what they could do. Have Sarah eliminating factions? Maybe she could infiltrate a group? I don’t know.

This was a pretty decent movie. It was a little predictable. Lester had resisted the conditioning previously and would obviously help Sarah escape. It was very obvious that Sarah would change her mind about the cult when her friend appeared. She was never going to hurt Lisa. The ending felt a little unnecessary and a little extra to be honest. They could have had her simply escape. The prevalence of the cult is simply another of the movie’s social commentaries. This is especially obvious given the movie being set in Los Angeles. There are many mentions of the fakeness of the people there. It’s hard not to see the influence of scientology on the cult here. Those are all discussions for a different type of article, though.

Anyways, thanks for reading another Ending Explained. Keep checking back for more.