A Clever Combination Of An Alien Invasion Movie And Time Travel Film, '+1' Explores What Happens When People Meet Themselves

By James Jay Edwards
Released: September 20, 2013
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Synopsis
In this supernatural thriller, three college friends go to the biggest party of the year, each looking for something different: love, sex and a simple human connection. When a mysterious phenomenon disrupts the party, it lights a fuse on what will become the strangest night anyone has ever seen. As the three friends struggle to find what they're looking for, the party quickly descends into a chaos that challenges if they can stay friends or if they can even stay alive.

Watch +1 Now On Demand: +1 (Watch While It's In Theatres) [HD]
Film Review
Production
Some of the coolest science fiction films don't seem like science fiction at all; they put real people in outlandish or futuristic situations, without having to fall back on the standard tropes of outer space or alien creatures. Christopher Nolan did it with Inception; Alfonso Cuaron with Children of Men. And now, director Dennis Iliadis (who helmed the remake of The Last House on the Left) has done it with +1 (which, for simplicity's sake, will be referred to as Plus One from here on out).

A scene from Plus 1. 2013 IFC Films.


Plus One begins with a lovers' spat between college sweethearts David (Rhys Wakefield, the creepy Polite Leader from The Purge) and Jill (Chronicle's Ashley Hinshaw), after which the ex-couple both go to the same raging house party. While David and his buddy, Teddy (Logan Miller from "I'm in the Band"), are on their way, a cosmic disturbance causes a temporary power outage. The guys think nothing of it, and when they arrive at the party, David laments over the loss of his girlfriend while Teddy meets Melanie (Natalie Hall from "All My Children"), the girl of his dreams. Teddy and Melanie sneak away to a bedroom to hook up, and another blackout happens. That's when things start getting weird; while Melanie is showering, another Melanie shows up in the room. Teddy freaks out and finds David, who witnesses another double kill his respective original outside the house. David and Teddy notice doppelgangers of the other party guests all around the house, doing things that the original people did only moments before. The blackouts become more frequent, and David notices that, with each power outage, the difference in time becomes smaller; the doppelgangers are catching up. While David uses the situation to patch things up with Jill, Teddy takes it upon himself to warn the other party guests, and everyone is left to wonder what will happen when the doubles' time catches up with the originals.

A scene from Plus 1. 2013 IFC Films.


The screenplay for Plus One was written by Bill Gullo (The Quitter) from a story by Iliadis. It's a clever and creative premise, and the narrative feels like a cross between a John Hughes teen party movie and a long episode of "The Twlight Zone." Plus One is a cool variation on the alien invasion movie, and it works well. The most remarkable aspect is the differences in character; when presented with their doubles, each person reacts differently, with some merely being curious and fascinated while others get violent and antagonistic. Plus One puts ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and the outcome is incredibly entertaining.

Plus One is a weird little movie - it's bizarre, frantic, and more than a little surreal. It gets a bit confusing while things are unfolding, and some questions that are raised are never fully answered, but it is still a fun watch. It's challenging at times, as most independent films are, but Plus One is more reward than risk.
Special Effects
To produce the doppelganger effects in Plus One, Dennis Iliadis uses practical camera and editing tricks instead of CGI, working closely with cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. (The Master, Twixt) and editor Yorgos Mavropsardis (Hardcore) to duplicate the actors. Some of the techniques are simple, such as editing one shot to the next of the actors watching themselves in different places, with no real interaction. Some of the sequences are more advanced, utilizing the split-screen method of creating twins that became popular in silly seventies sitcoms like "The Brady Bunch." The most ingenious method, however, is also the most convincing and the easiest to pull off: the casting of twins. A character named Alison is played by two girls, Suzanne and Colleen Dengel (who played the twins in The Devil Wears Prada). Alison actually makes friends with her doppelganger, and interacts freely with her, holding hands and touching her face and body. Between the twins and the camera trickery, the doubling of the characters in Plus One is really effective.

A scene from Plus 1. 2013 IFC Films.





Genres
Thriller, Mystery, Science Fiction
Release Date
September 20, 2013
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