Home Video Hovel: +1, by Sarah Brinks
+1 is a little bit Can’t Hardly Wait, a little bit Timecrimes, and a little bit The World’s End. The one category it most easily falls into is the “house party movie” category. The big party in the film is that kind of party that only really exists in cinema and I assume rappers’ lives. +1 is a movie that is almost impossible to discuss with out spoiling it, so I will do my best and give warning when I move into spoiler territory.
The film begins with David surprising his girlfriend Jill at her college fencing match. After the match he mistakes the fencer who beat her from behind as Jill. The winning fencer kisses him and Jill sees it and runs away. Later David and his super horny friend Teddy are getting ready to go to “The Party.” David has been trying to win Jill back but she has been ignoring him. Without anyone realizing it an object from outer space hits Earth nearby. The object then starts to mess with the power lines. David and Teddy go to “The Party” and, of course, Jill is there with a different guy. David then obsessively follows her around the party trying to win her back. Teddy gets lucky with one of the hottest girls in school and everyone is having the time of their lives. They play flaming tennis in the living room; there is an awesome DJ, and even two professional strippers. This is about as far into the plot as I can go without spoiling anything.
I am of two minds about the film. There are parts that I really like and parts that I don’t. I like that the film is very well made. There is some clever camera work that is a little showy but it works in the film. Also, the visual effects are really strong; the face matching in particular is well done. MINOR SPOILER: The film handles the time-travel elements deftly. The film doesn’t hand-hold you through it but makes it easy to know which character is which and what time-line they are in. Similar to Timecrimes it does make sense in the end. The screenwriters, Dennis Iliadis and Bill Gullo, make a strong choice to not explain the object from space or why the events that take place during the film happen or ultimately if there are any lasting consequences. The parts that I didn’t like the most were the parts that felt like they were made for thirteen year old boys. I don’t have a problem with nudity, graphic sex scenes, or blood but there were scenes and camera shots in this film that just felt like a teenage boys masturbatory fantasy. The film is strong enough that if it had been in slightly more mature hands it could have been challenging in a fun way and a lot more dark. Since this film is made by Dennis Iliadis, who directed the remake of The Last House On The Left, I expected it to have a darker side then it did. I liked the movie over all but I wish it trusted itself more and took a few more risks. The plot twist was already “out there” enough that I was along for a strange ride.
There are some strong performances in the film, most surprising to me is by Logan Miller who plays Teddy. For about half of the film you think he is just the typical horny friend archetype. When he turns out to be sort of a leader and hero, Miller makes that part of his performance really work. Another surprisingly strong performance is Rohan Kymal as Angad, the rich kid giving the party. Angad wants the party to be the most epic party they will ever have in their lives and just really wants to be cool. He also handles the more serious parts of the film well. Rhys Wakefield plays David and Ashley Hinshaw plays Jill. They were both fine, but their whole story was probably the least interesting thing about the film; at least the “will they-won’t they” part was uninteresting. Since there is a time-travel aspect to the film most of the actors are required to give multiple versions of a performance and they all do it seamlessly.
The DVD has a bunch of special features including a director’s commentary, some cool visual effect extras that I liked, deleted scenes and more.
Overall I really like the film. It surprised me more than once and is also a bit of a brain teaser. I wish it had taken a few more risks and really challenged me but I was satisfied with the film I got. If you like science fiction at all then I think you will really like this movie and so will thirteen year old boys who like boobs and have a pause button.