Review: ‘Plus One’ is One Too Many

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According to Wikipedia, a doppelganger is a paranormal double of a living person.  “A doppelganger is often perceived as a sinister form of bilocation and is regarded by some as a harbinger of bad luck.  In some traditions, a doppelganger seen by a person’s relative or friend portends illness or danger while seeing one’s own doppelganger is said to be an omen of death.”

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (whichever version) is the most famous example of doppelganger mythology in Horror.  Now, Plus One seeks to establish a foothold in this same sub-genre.  Part Donnie Darko, part John Hughes throwback, Plus One was released by IFC Films on September 20, 2013.

Read my review after the jump.

 Official Synopsis:  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 supernatural 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.

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Plus One aspires to be a mind-fuck on par with Donnie Darko, Primer, and other metaphysical time-travel offerings.  Unfortunately, it fails by some distance.  Form the get go, the science is fuzzy: A meteorite crash causes power lines to glow ominously before a brief blackout.  Throughout the evening, more blackouts occur, each one followed by a sort of doubling of time.

The story splits into 2 distinct timelines: One is the “present time” in which the movie began, and the second is a few minutes in the past.  Both timelines are fully populated and play out in tandem.  During each blackout, the “past” timeline disappears, only to reappear when the power comes back on.  And with each reappearance, the 2 timelines get closer together.

As people get hip to this crazy shit, they begin to panic, fearing the “past” timeline inhabitants will seeks to replace those in the “present” timeline.  Hence, the doppelganger connection.  This viewer was amped by the possibility of a bloodbath conclusion wherein both timelines converge and each person comes face to face with themselves.  “This is a Horror movie, after all,” I kept telling myself.  “At some point this Can’t Hardly Wait shit has got to end with some sort of big shocker,” I said to myself.  Unfortunately, the end disappoints vastly.  And not simply because it lacked balls and didn’t meet my violent expectations.  At the film’s conclusion, all attempts to adhere to some sort of scientific foundation just fly out the window.  Plot holes are too numerous to list and any intelligent viewer is left with questions that Plus One never even attempts to answer (most importantly, was this event confined to the kids at the party, or was it the entre world?).

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Rhys Wakefield’s character David is a Dawson look-alike who is more interested in fixing a broken relationship than dealing with the ramifications of a cosmic collapse.  Dude’s priorities are all out of whack   Completely unbelievable.  And while he’s presented as the one who knows “what’s really going on”, his actions in the third-act are those of a lunatic.

I enjoyed Logan Miller as Teddy, a nerd who ends up having the time of his life when his dream girl invites him upstairs for some hanky-panky.  When time doubles and he suddenly finds himself with 2 identical hotties, he keeps cool and tries to make the best of the situation–by  suggesting a threesome, “Let’s just go with it”.  A man after my own heart.

If the filmmakers were trying to make a statement about teenagers being their own worst enemies, it gets lost in the hoopla.  While many will likely be entertained by Plus One, this Horror aficionado thinks it’s weak sauce.

2 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer: HERE

Release Date September 20 2013
Studio IFC Films
Director Dennis Iliadis
Writer Dennis Iliadis, Bill Gullo
Starring Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall
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About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: https://bloodandgutsforgrownups.wordpress.com/ View all posts by Saucy Josh

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