Screener Squad: Darkness in Tenement 45

Darkness in Tenement 45 Movie Review


There’s a pandemic, people are self-isolating, everyone is dreading the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election, and we’re running low on toilet paper. Maybe you should relax by watching a movie? How about a pandemic themed horror movie, releasing on Election Day, no less? That should take your mind off things for a while! It’s 1953 and the Soviet Union has unleashed an airborne biological agent on New York City. Or maybe the viral attack is just a hoax? The residents of Tenement 45 have boarded themselves in but after a month, supplies are dwindling and tensions are running high. The matronly Martha (Casey Kramer) is the paranoid leader of the tenement who decides who gets to stay and who is too sick to remain, but her deeply traumatized niece Joanna (Nicole Tompkins) believes there is still life outside their tenement walls. Can Joanna lead the other children against the authoritarian adults, or will she succumb… to the darkness within her? Our crew of movie reviewing shut-ins Matt, Robert, Trevor and Marco all agree that the film feels prescient, but was that enough to salvage this social drama that is being marketed as a horror movie? Listen to our review to find out!

**This review comes in a longer, uncut, video version for TIME LORD subscribers and above right here**


DIRECTED BY: Nicole Groton

STARRING: Nicole Tompkins, David Lablosa, Melissa Macedo, Casey Kramer, Anthony Marciona, Keyon Bowman, Elexus Ray, Von Roberts, Ronny Stein, Nicolas Aleksandr Bolton, Joseph Culliton, Sean LoGrasso, Emmy Greene, Marla Martinez




Matt Foster (Screener Squad)

Matt Foster is a stand up comic, podcaster, and movie critic currently living in the greater Salt Lake City area. His lifelong love of genre film began early, when he realized they freaked out his mom. He performs (epidemics permitting) regularly on Dungeons and Comedy, a DND live play with standup comedians, and is the slightly less mustache-y half of the Nighthawks Podcast, a cinema-centric discussion cohosted by Trevor T. Trujillo.



Robert Garza (Screener Squad)

If it weren’t for sad music and scary stories I wouldn’t be as well-adjusted and cheerful as I am today. Moonlighting as a musician off and on since adolescence, I am as big a fan of scores and needle drops as I am of slow zooms, production design, and third act exposition. Just about all of my screen time is spent on international horror, drama, and hour long episodic. Big fan of genre, and the biggest fan of supernatural horror and dark sci-fi with meaningful representation and narratives that use trauma, grief, and grace as more than surface-level content. Also, I read a ton of modern horror novels/comics and stan Matt Berry. In the before times I worked music and film festivals across the US and will hopefully return to that sometime in the future.


Trevor Trujillo (Screener Squad)

Trevor T. Trujillo is a One Of Us contributor in addition to being the co-host, co-founder, and co-producer of the Nighthawks Podcast. Trevor’s 17-year media career spans multiple arenas including television, radio, podcasting, and online journalism; and he is currently the editor-in-chief for a regional online news provider in the Rocky Mountain West. Often a nomad, Trevor has found himself “at home” in places like Austin, Texas; West Hollywood, California; and throughout central and southeastern Wyoming. Get the pause button ready, Trevor also manages to pop up in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them featured extra roles in Nickelodeon’s FRED, TruTV’s OPERATION REPO and the Todd Rohal/Zack Carlson short THE SUPLEX DUPLEX COMPLEX.


Marco Noyola (Digital Noise, Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad, Audio Editor)

By day, Marco is a mild-mannered office worker, but by night he is a mild-mannered movie watcher. He does other mild-mannered stuff too.




You can subscribe to the Highly Suspect Reviews and Screener Squad series of podcasts on iTunes, Spotify, and more, or use our RSS feed on whatever podcast service you use: and please leave us a review!

Please think about becoming a paid subscriber to, support our huge network of shows, and get access to tons of bonus shows and videos in our forums! We cannot keep this site going without support from our listeners. For added information about being a subscriber, the benefits, and the forums, please go here.

Subscription Levels

Hulvey's Spice Powder Ad
Knomad ad