DVD Review: Plus One (+1)

Plus One (or +1 as it’s listed in the opening credits and on imdb) is a strange sci-fi psychological thriller that messes with your head. Some people will probably really enjoy it they most of us did Donnie Darko way back in 2001. I, however, found the film seriously lacking.

Three collage-aged best friends are heading to the what may be the greatest party of their lives. David (Rhys Wakefield) was just dumped by his girlfriend Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) because he accidentally kissed another girl. David is at the part with Teddy (Logan Miller) with hopes and dreams that could have easily landed him in American Pie and Allison (Colleen and Suzanne Dengel, this will make more sense later) who obviously has no desire to be at the party which is overflowing with more drunk co-eds than Spring Breakers.

Just before the party a mysterious meteor lands near David’s house and a weird electricity follows him and his friends to the party. Thirty minutes in the power goes out. When the power comes back on everyone in the party has been duplicated. David, Allison and Teddy seems to be the only ones aware of what is going on and start trying to figure out the mystery all while David is trying to patch things up with Jill. The film gets more strange and more confusing as it builds to it’s big finale.

This is a very fascinating idea and in theory would make a good movie. However, the story they have chosen to wrap this weird timeloop idea into just doesn’t work. As the movie goes on the timeloop between the present party people and the other party people gets closer and closer and David and the others are worried about what will happen when the two groups of drunk raging twenty-somethings meet. Well, Teddy is the one mostly worried. David just wants his girlfriend back (and he doesn’t care which one it is) and Allison is just happy to finally meet someone who gets her and she can have a conversation with (hence the whole twins playing the same character thing.)

The logic in Plus One (+1) feels very flawed. I mean, the whole thing is extremely hypothetical, so technically I guess they can do whatever the hell they want, but many of the decisions of the characters don’t seem to makes sense while this amazingly unlikely cosmic event his happening around them.

A lot of the film feels very forced as well. Plus One (+1) needs Teddy to hook up with Melanie (Natalie Hall) who is WAY out of his league. So he does; he accomplishes in about five minutes what it took the guys in American Pie a whole film to achieve. Even beyond the crazy timeloop stuff, there is not enough alcohol in the world to make a girl like Natalie hook up with a guy like Teddy, but she does; she gives him the ride of his life.

Then there is David’s obsession with getting Jill back. Yeah, he messed up. Yes, Jill is taking it really hard and being really mean to him, but the lengths he goes to make things right with her (which her? Doesn’t matter) are crazy.

The one thing this film did get right was the doppelganger special effects. When all the duplicates do meet at the end I thought, for half a second, that maybe the hired an entire cast of twins because they way they were interacting with one another looked real. It turns out they used the latest and greatest in face replacement technology, and it worked beautifully.

Plus One (+1) is a very strange film and it gets major points for originality. Sadly, the execution of these wacky ideas was a little lacking and the film, overall, doesn’t work as well as it should have. Sure it’ll leave you scratching your head and thinking about it after it’s over, but you’ll forget the whole thing soon enough.

The film is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen format and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. It’s a pretty good looking film and as I said above, the technology used to great the doppelgangers is flawless. So it has that going for it, if nothing else.

For extras you get two interviews (13 min.), audition interviews (3 min.), Storyboard comparison for the big final scene (3 min.), Behind the scenes for some of the visual effects (3 min.), Outtakes (3 min.), some kind of music video thing called Mosa+1cs that basically lets you watch the film in eleven minutes set to music, poster gallery and trailers.

Plus One starts out really rough, kind of starts to get interesting the gets lost in it’s own timeloop. It’s a really neat idea and is probably at least worth one viewing based on that alone, and for those who do like it, you’ll probably want to watch it again to try and figure out what’s going on.

IFC Midnight presents Plus One (+1). Written by Bill Gullo. Based on a story by Dennis Iliadis. Directed by Dennis Iliadis. Starring: Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall, and Suzanne and Colleen Dengel. Running time: 96 minutes. Rating: R. Released: January 14, 2014.