Randal (Irshaad Ally) has got his ass in some dire freakin’ straits; you see, he owes money to the local loan shark, Emmie (Danny Ross), who makes late payments a death sentence and to some thugs that have broken Randal’s back and left him confined to a wheelchair. As fate (and Hitchcock) would have it; Randal’s girlfriend Pam (Monique Rockman) gives our crippled hero a pair of binoculars with which he discovers a way out of his shitty sitch as he spies the fact that his neighbor, the gangster Lawyer (David Manuel), has a sack of cash just waiting to be stolen in his apartment…more than enough to settle the score with those he owes that multitude of greenbacks, plus live the easy life. But how will he go about robbin’ that gangster and makin’ the dash?
Comprised of a number of innovative trappings (that knife wielding albino springs to mind), ratcheting tension, and an effective use of a single location for most of the film i.e. Randal’s dismal apartment set in the equally ramshackle and depressing Cape Flats neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa (and utilizing the actual residents for a palpable sense of realism and grittiness). Number 37 oozes a sleazy ambiance and sense of realism that makes it rise above it’s core of Rear Window pastiche, and Co-writer (along with Daryne Joshua)/Director Nosipho Dumisa has delivered a slick thriller with a look all it’s own, and for the most part it’s a hell of a one-of-a-kind experience. Adding to that is the volatile and ultimately passionate relationship between Randal and Pam (expertly acted by the aforementioned Ally and Rockman) that echoes the fucked up ‘ship between James Stewart and Grace Kelly in the Hitchcock inspiration for the film while amping up the sadism!
If you are looking for one hell of a unique spin on a tried and true classic of suspense cinema, give Number 37 a whirl; it has a grimy, mean-streets aesthetic, a cast of unique characters, and enough suspense and violence to satisfy lovers of the genre!