+1 (2013)

Dennis Iliadis' remake of Last House On The Left is one of the better films of the recent remake craze and that's high praise coming from me since I consider the original one of my all time favorite films. So when news of Iliadis' follow up, the unfortunately titled +1, hit the interwebs you could color me intrigued to say the least. After a brief festival run, the film recently popped up on the almighty Netflix seemingly out of nowhere, so without further adieu here we go.

David (Rhys Wakefield) thinks he's doing the sweet thing by visiting his girlfriend, Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) at her college. He brings her roses in the middle of her fencing tournament (they just don't have enough horror films with fencing in them). Post tournament, David, for some reason makes out with one of the other girls in the tournament for some reason. All white girls look the same I guess. Of course Jill catches him in the act because we need some conflict in the film and fencing just doesn't cut it (sorry Bruce Dickinson).

Luckily for David there is one of those parties that only screen writers think exist because they were never
invited to actual parties, that very same night and Jill is going to be there. Jill though, has some other ideas, having wasted no time in moving on to a sexy older dude, whom she plans on bringing to said crazy party. David gets all emo-broody over Jill blocking his e-mail, a mood he will keep for most of the film. He tries to corner Jill at the party and to say it goes poorly would be an understatement. Then he notices weird shit happening. First his dorky friend winds up fucking the really hot but lonely chick (yeah, your basic John Hughes stereotypes abound in the film). Which is weird, and kind of stupid, but does give us copious amounts of boobage.

The shit really starts to hit the fan when Emo-David discovers that not only is his best friend boning a hot chick who's way out of his league, but after a series of electrical surge related blackouts, there is literally two of everyone at the party. He watches an ancillary character kill his doppelganger, and makes a half-hearted attempt to warn folks, but he spends most of his time trying to manipulate Jill into getting back to him. He knocks out his double, because he's no fool and is only getting paid one salary so why do double the work?

The film really does get going though when Davids small group of friends start to realize that they too, have doubles running around the place. It doesn't take too long for them to figure out that there is some fucked up "timey wimey" shit going on. Tension builds as Davids friends try to alert the party goers from their own timeline that some bad shit is about to come down. It's too bad that David has no desire to save his friends, his energies are spent trying to win Jill back - whichever Jill he can happen to find.

+1 builds towards a Twilight Zone-esque crescendo, something that could really be of substance. Then it drops the ball worse than any recent film I can remember. Rather than give a satisfying ending to a clunky, but earnest sci-fi film, +1 regresses to over wrought romance film in the end. It's such a mess that it makes me angry just thinking about it.

Needless to say Dennis Iliadis' +1 is a disappointment, and it's a very unfortunate disappointment, because there are seeds of a good film here. I myself am a sucker for anything that fucks with the space time continuum, so it takes a lot for me to write off a time travel (kind of) sci-fi film. It's a shame that the film goes for the whiny emo tone rather than the smart sci-fi/horror hybrid it could have been.

+1 is available on Netflix now. Check it out if you want to see something with potential that seems to make all the wrong decisions at the wrong times.

** stars out of *****

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