If you have lived in New York for longer than a couple of years, you know how ridiculous the process to find an apartment can be. I’ve lived here for ten years and have somehow managed to be lucky enough to live in only four apartments over that span of time. There’s a vast majority of slumlords that somehow successfully sell massively expensive shitholes to the highest bidder. Since there is never a shortage of people moving to our fair city, the bids will always be high while the quality of the apartment is usually low, unless you’re rich of course. Which at this point in time, you have to be unless you’ve lived in the same apartment for 20 years or your relatives own the building.

THE KEYS, written, directed, and starring Amanda B. Goodman (You Only Die Once, Cori’s First Horror Movie) and Seth Panman (A Crime to Remember, I Witness) flips the classic New York cliche on its head and actually gives us a sympathetic real-estate broker. I know that these people actually DO exist, as I did it for about six months once, but couldn’t stand doing it and quit. There are countless other douchebag real-estate bros lurking around every corner of our fair metropolis, but Sam, played by Panman, isn’t one of them. He is actually quite sympathetic and experiencing a lot of problems, firstly that his boss is breathing down his neck and his client is running late.

After fumbling with the keys and dropping them, Sam and a random strange woman have a real cute-meet when they both attempt to pick up the keys at the same time. After some awkward back-and-forth, we find out that the stranger was his client, Ali, played by Goodman. Somehow throughout the short tour of an insane UES apartment that is said to cost $7,995 (and probably does cost that in reality, if not more), the two hit it off and make a personal connection. There are several times when we think they just might “do it”, there’s even an allusion to the “red room” in 50 Shades of Grey.

We find out that neither Sam nor Ali had an ideal childhood, or adulthood. We also find out it’s Sam’s birthday, and that his brother is in a coma. Ali talks of a traumatizing experience of having a drunken guy in a Barney costume chasing her around her 5th or 6th birthday. Ali doesn’t seem to like the first apartment that Sam shows her so they go visit another one. The light and walls in the apartment are red, and Sam gets to meet Ali’s sister, who isn’t exactly the most pleasant person in the world, to say the least.

Clocking in at a little over sixteen minutes, THE KEYS is a brief fun exploration of how awful the real-estate business in NYC can be and also how you really never know what can happen in any given day.

THE KEYS has a great script and the chemistry between Goodman and Panman as actors is palpable. Goodman, especially, is hilarious and I hope to see her in more acting roles. I also will always support any female filmmaker, especially in the horror genre, since they’re usually so few and far between. This is not to discount Seth Panman’s effort as a writer, director and producer. The two as a team work together very well and I look forward to both of their future efforts.

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Lorry Kikta

Lorry Kikta is a writer living in Queens, New York, originally from Atlanta, Georgia who loves Lars Von Trier, though sometimes against her better judgment. In addition to writing film reviews for NC and other sites such as FilmThreat, she writes essays and poetry that have been published in various print and online publications. You can find her reading her poems or djing all over NYC. While she's not doing that, she's watching movies or writing her screenplay on her couch at home, with her boyfriend Greg and cat Peanut by her side.
Lorry Kikta
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