DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45 is a new horror-drama that works on many levels. Especially in terms of meta and symbolism. However, the overall movie would probably have worked better as a short film. It does drag its feet too much. Read our full Darkness in Tenement 45 movie review here!

DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45 is a new horror-drama that I would recommend checking out if you enjoy symbolism and tongue-in-cheek parallels. Don’t get me wrong, this is neither a spoof nor a horror-comedy. It does, however, take some very current issues and place them in another time.

An alternative past did seem like a very possible reality to many at that time. To me, this part of the story works really well on so many levels. Still, the plot of this feature film was probably better suited for a short film since it runs too long!

Continue reading our Darkness in Tenement 45 movie review below.

Top marks for the concept

The concept of Darkness in Tenement 45 is absolutely perfect in most ways. That’s why I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie as a whole. Unfortunately, this is something we’ve experienced with several of the movies we’ve reviewed here at Heaven of Horror in recent months. Antebellum had the most amazing concept and premise, but the execution was lacking in detail.

Recommended reading: Read our review of Antebellum here >

With Darkness in Tenement 45, the filmmaker managed to make this movie on a micro-budget. Compared to the previously mentioned Antebellum, this obviously means they did a lot more with a lot less. However, Antebellum never became too slow or boring – it just didn’t tell the story as well as it could’ve – while this new horror/thriller does run too long.

I find myself losing both my patience and interest with Darkness in Tenement 45 which is a damn shame. Especially because it started out really strong.

Darkness in Tenement 45 – Horror Review

Too many plot points

The main issue, for me, was that the plot in Darkness in Tenement 45 seemed to be going around in circles for too long. Quite frankly, that feeling is already familiar to real-life for many people and we need something else from movies.

A movie like Host on Shudder managed to utilize the quarantine feeling in all the best and most recognizable ways. Also, on a very small budget (though undoubtedly bigger than this one). Obviously, I recognize that the two movies play out in very different settings. Still, working with an alternative past as it seems to be the case in this movie, does offer a lot of creative freedom.

Actually, my main issue has to do with adding more drama and complexity to the story than needed. Being trapped inside an apartment complex is more than enough to work with. No need to add mental illness or a super horny teenager lusting for his sister to the mix. The relationship between characters in a very uncomfortable setting is more than enough to work with!

Watch Darkness in Tenement 45 on VOD

The writer and director of Darkness in Tenement 45 is Nicole Groton and this is her feature film debut. While I realize I’ve been full of criticism for this movie as a whole, I do also see a lot of potential in this writer-director. The “only” skill that needs fine-tuning is restraint.

If a story is perfect for a short film, then make a short film rather than drag it out for a feature film. And when so many extra plot points and added drama is necessary, then the core story of the movie is not for a feature film.

I am so ready to see more from Nicole Groton because she managed to get some wonderful performances out of her cast. Also, both the visuals and audio of this movie is way better than what anyone on a micro-budget should be able to deliver.

Finally, this movie began in such an awesome way, that my disappointment in the whole is directly connected to my expectations of something better. A movie that had stayed as good as the beginning of Darkness in Tenement 45 would have me singing its praises. So yes, I’m ready for Nicole Groton’s next project to deliver on this!

Darkness in Tenement 45 is out on Digital/VOD platforms on November 3, 2020.


Writer & Director: Nicole Groton
Stars: Nicole Tompkins, Casey Kramer, David Labiosa, Melissa Macedo, Anthony Marciona, Keyon Bowman, Nicolas Aleksandr Bolton, Marla Martinez, Emmy Greene, Elexus Ray


DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45, set in the 1950s, follows the residents of a NYC tenement building trapped inside in response to the threat of a biological attack during the Cold War. With supplies dwindling, paranoia sets in, leaving a troubled teenager in a desperate fight for survival against the self-appointed, deranged leader to save what remains of her makeshift family.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard