ICFIFC: +1 (2013)

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ICFIFC: +1 (2013)

+1 (also known as Plus One) is a 2013 American thriller film directed by Dennis Iliadis (The Last House On The Left).  It premiered on March 10, 2013 at the SXSW and stars Ashley Hinshaw (Chronicle), Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), and Natalie Hall (Pretty Little Liars).  +1 was released in theaters, iTunes and VOD on September 20, 2013.  For the VOD release Iliadis worked on fine-tuning elements of the film, as he felt that the SXSW release was too "rushed".

+1 (2013)

  • A.K.A. Title: Plus One
  • Genre: Sci-Fi – Thriller
  • Directed: Dennis Iliadis
  • Produced:
    • Guy Botham 
    • Becky Glupczynski 
    • Thomas Nittmann 
    • Tim Perell 
    • Edson Williams
  • Written: Bill Gullo  Dennis Iliadis
  • Starring: Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall, Rohan Kymal, Adam David Thompson, Ronald Ogden, Bernard D. Jones, Brad Mills, April Billingsley, Peter Luis Zimmerman, Josh Warren
  • Music: Nathan Larson
  • Cinematography: Mihai Malaimare Jr.
  • Editing: Yorgos Mavropsaridis
  • Studio:
    • Process Films 
    • Process Media
  • Distributed:
    • Feelgood Entertainment  
    • IFC Midnight  
    • Eagle Films  
    • Mongkol Major  
    • Signature Entertainment  
    • Square One Entertainment  
    • Universum Film
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 10 March 2013 (USA)
  • Running Time: 95 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

While on the phone with his girlfriend Jill, who has moved away to attend college, David prompts her to explicitly wish that he were there to see her compete in a fencing tournament, only to surprise her with an unplanned visit.  After the competition, David approaches Jill's similarly attired opponent from behind and flirts with her, thinking she is his girlfriend.  Intrigued, she kisses David, and Jill storms off angrily after walking in on them.  Later, David meets with his friend Teddy, a sex-obsessed student who tells him that Jill will attend a house party later.  Hoping that she will speak with him in person, David decides to attend the party, too.

A meteor lands near the site of the party, and electrical arcs cause a momentary blackout.  The wild revelers do not notice brief, anomalous phenomena that occur during the blackout, such as a mirror image out of sync, but a drug dealer's girlfriend outside the party becomes spooked.  As the raucous party proceeds, David searches the house for Jill, and Teddy attempts to charm Melanie.  To Teddy's surprise, Melanie invites him to join her upstairs in ten minutes.  Meanwhile, David spies on Jill as she flirts with a friend, and Allison, an outsider, unsuccessfully attempts to fit in.  David attempts to apologize to Jill, but she becomes more angry with his fumbled apology and says that he makes her feel replaceable.  The party moves outside, and the house empties except for David, Teddy, Allison, and Melanie.

When Teddy joins Melanie upstairs, he finds her naked on a bed.  They proceed to have sex, and she steps into the shower afterward.  During a second blackout, a duplicate of Melanie appears on the bed, surprised to find Teddy in the room.  When the original Melanie exits the shower, the two Melanies come face-to-face, and Teddy flees the room in a panic.  David confirms that the house has filled with duplicates of the party-goers, who repeat the actions their originals took ten minutes ago.  Outside, the drug dealer and his duplicate get into a violent confrontation, and David watches as one of them murders the other.  Worried that the duplicates may be hostile, the originals attempt to hide.  Eventually, the duplicates disappear.

With each blackout, the duplicates momentarily reappear and reenact increasingly more recent actions.  David becomes convinced that he can save his relationship if he crafts a better apology to Jill's duplicate, Allison befriends her duplicate, and Teddy accidentally ruins the rendez-vous between his and Melanie's duplicates.  Teddy warns the others that his duplicate will now become belligerent, and he convinces the party-goers, most of whom are still skeptical, to hide from their duplicates in a pool house.  When the duplicates reappear, David knocks his own duplicate unconscious and charms Jill's duplicate, and Teddy's duplicate attempts to convince the skeptical crowd of duplicates to attack the originals.

Worried about their safety, several of the originals sneak out and murder their duplicates, which turns the enraged duplicates hostile.  The originals retreat back to the pool house, and the duplicates lay siege.  The next blackout causes the duplicates to appear inside the pool house.  The crowded room erupts in violence, and several people die, including Teddy.  David tracks down the original Jill, who had wandered back to the house, and he murders her so that he can be with her duplicate.  Allison seduces her duplicate, and they share a kiss.  The final blackout causes the duplicates and originals to merge.  The confused party-goers stagger outside of the pool house, and they begin to disperse.  Teddy asks Melanie to call him, and David and Jill leave together.

After David and Jill have a make-out session, two meteors, like the original, are shown falling through the sky and it is implied the whole process will happen all over again with three sets of duplicates.

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of 12 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 6.10/10.  Metacritic rated it 60/100 based on six reviews.  Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times made it a NYT Critics' Pick and called it "a fleet and frenzied sci-fi tale with more on its mind than alien gate-crashers."   Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine gave the film three out of four stars, commenting that Iliadis did a good job of showing the "existential despair" of narcissism and detachment.  Scott Weinberg of Fearnet gave a more mixed review, saying that the film was a "decent, uneven, well-made spin on a very standard horror story".  In a mixed review, Geoff Berkshire of Variety called it a "trippy oddity" with "a tantalizing visual puzzle that demands full attention, even as the flavorless characters and largely so-so performances risk audience indifference."  Berkshire states the film's "overriding misogyny" may be intentional satire.

Honestly, I was all in to get the full story until the last five minutes when I felt the story started to take shortcuts.  Very enjoyable but like I said, the ending felt odd to me.

Everyone Wants One…Indeed!

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