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‘+1’ Gets a Minor Down

by Trey Hock on September 28, 2013

in Print Reviews,Reviews

The new film +1 begins with a great concept. What would happen if you could meet yourself from just moments ago and change the outcome of a crucial event? Though it starts from this interesting premise, +1 never develops its characters and relies on ridiculous scenarios to push its plot through to its conclusion.

There has been a wave of indie genre films recently, such as Primer or Paranormal Activity. These movies offer up a simple premise and then focus on they ways the characters react to their situation. The emphasis is on believable or close to believable character development.

Director Dennis Iliadis and co-writer Bill Gullo offer us a tantalizing science fiction setup. When a celestial event takes place, time is shifted or split. This rupture allows for two versions of the same people to be in the same place at the same time, but with different sets of experiences.

David (Rhys Wakefield) pines for his lost opportunity with his ex, Jill (Ashley Hinshaw), but at the biggest party of the summer David and his friends, Teddy (Logan Miller) and Allison, (Suzanne Dengel) discover that they can interact with previous versions of the themselves to change the past and rewrite their own history.

Sounds okay, right? It sure would be if this weren’t just another excuse for a boobie filled teen party complete with Instagram photo shoots, glow sticks, indoor sprinkler systems and even a body sushi ninja.

The suspension of disbelief that Iliadis’ premise requires is stressed to the breaking point. The reckless objectification of the women in the cast also lacks taste or thought. When two versions of the same girl show up for a romantic interlude the guy involved suggests that they just roll with it. Worse still, when a previous version of a young woman is amicable to a relationship, she can be killed and replaced by version that is more interested in the idea.

The subplot that involves Allison and her doppelgänger is by far the most interesting part of +1 but it does not redeem the rest of the film.

None of the individual aspects of +1 would be particularly offensive if employed to make some larger statement, but +1 is not a thoughtful satire. It is more like a dream from a disturbed 13-year-old.

In addition to contributing to Scene-Stealers, Trey makes short films and teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. Follow him here:

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