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It is 1953. Sixteen-year-old Joanna has been living with her overbearing Aunt Martha in a low-income NYC tenement building ever since a violent outburst left her fighting a force that she can only describe as the “darkness.” Little did she know that weeks after moving in, a biological threat from the Soviet Union would leave the building boarded up and the tenants locked inside. With food dwindling and Martha’s controversial role as leader expanding, Joanna rallies the children in an attempt to save the building. Tensions come to a violent head when Martha delves into Joanna’s past and Joanna struggles to keep the darkness from overtaking her entirely.


I was half finished with this film before I stopped to check and see when it was completed. It feels so prescient about the current pandemic. You have a group of people in lockdown together to avoid a mysterious contagion that infests the outdoors. I hesitate to say much more for fear of giving too much away, but there are so many parallels about this film and what we are currently experiencing, both in terms of the overall situation and the behaviors it creates in people, that I thought for sure it had to be made during lockdown. Nope. This was created last year. Eerie! Besides all that, though, director Nicole Groton and her ensemble cast create an engaging story based in a single location, but with multiple human foibles! -Miguel


"I really dig this movie. It's got a real Flowers in the Attic vibe while also dealing with alternate history." -Programmer Jon Condit


Director: Nicole Groton graduated with honors from the prestigious Florida State University’s Film School where her studies focused on writing and directing. She began her career as Creative Executive at Intuition Productions with producer Keri Selig (Stepford Wives) where she developed and produced several projects, including a TV Special for TLC where she served as Field Producer. She then worked for the president at Bad Hat Harry Productions ("House," X-Men Franchise) and for Emmy-nominated producer Gavin Polone ("Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Zombieland) at the production company Pariah.


One of Groton’s most prestigious accomplishments is her feature documentary The Melting Family, which she produced, directed, and edited. Working on a bare bones budget with minimal crew, Groton spent over five years compiling archive footage and interviews. The film made its world premiere at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.

Most recently, Groton finished her narrative feature film Darkness in Tenement 45, a psychological thriller that she wrote, directed, and produced. The film had an ambitious twelve-day shoot and made its world premiere at the 2020 Sarasota Film Festival. It was later an official selection at Horror Imaginings, the Big Apple Film Festival, and Capital City Film Festival. Additionally, she has written and directed two short films, one of which made its premiere at the LA Femme Film Festival.

Groton has also been recognized for her screenwriting. She was a quarterfinalist at HollyShorts, Storypros Screenplay Contest, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest, and the Cynosure Screenwriting Awards. She was a semifinalist at the Creative World Awards. She won Best Feature Screenplay at the Orlando Film Festival and Second Place for Best Comedy Screenplay at the Los Angeles Screenplay Contest.

  • Year
    2019
  • Runtime
    95 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    Southern California
  • Director
    Nicole Groton
  • Screenwriter
    Nicole Groton
  • Producer
    Crystal Collins, Simone Lapidus, Nicole Groton
  • Cast
    Nicole Tompkins, David Labiosa, Anthony Marciona, Melissa Macedo, Casey Kramer, Keyon Bowman, Ronny Stein, Elexus Ray, Nicolas Aleksandr Bolton
  • Cinematographer
    Carissa Dorson
  • Music
    Logan Rees