“+1” begins with a college student named David (Rhys Wakefield) surprising his girlfriend Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) at her fencing tournament. Things seem to be going well until Jill loses her match and catches David kissing the winner. David just wants a chance to explain himself and apologize, but Jill will have none of it. David, along with his horny friend Teddy (Logan Miller), attend the biggest party of the year; David intends to talk to Jill while Teddy hopes to get lucky. As the festivities at the party get out of control, a nearby meteor crash feeds on nearby power lines and affects everyone at the party. The perplexing event leaves David and the others questioning their existence and threatening their friendships.
“+1” is a thriller that never really capitalizes on its premise. Wouldn’t you give anything to change that one big mistake from your past? Maybe you’d like to relive the best night of your life over and over again. What if instead of just scoring your dream girl that there was suddenly two of them and they were both interested in you? “+1” grazes over all of this, but that’s just it. The film never seems to fully embrace these concepts. Gloves are always worn and protection is always used to make everything a bit too safe to be fully satisfying.
It goes without saying that the most titillating aspect about “+1” was seeing the past and present collide. Why does everyone suddenly have an exact duplicate? The reactions portrayed by these college students after discovering this is ridiculous and somewhat unbelievable. It’s a mob mentality kind of thing, but at the same time you wonder why no one tries to take advantage of the situation by having two of themselves. Allison (Suzanne Dengel) seems to be the only character who embraces herself but she does so in a way that’s a little disconcerting.
It feels like a little too much time goes into David lusting after a girl who no longer wants anything to do with him, Teddy’s big night, and just how many surprises Angad (Rohan Kymal) can stuff into his party. While some of it circles back around, most of it seems to be college kids acting like idiots and it’s difficult to enjoy. David’s actions in the final act are really bizarre, too. You’re left wondering why the character ends up the way it does and why so many college students are so bloodthirsty at heart.
Imagine “Project X” taking place in the world of “Another Earth” and you get “+1.” While there are interesting aspects to the film that mostly lie within the film’s sci-fi elements, it seems slightly repressed thanks to so much emphasis being put on partying, cheating, and having sex in general.
“+1” begins playing today, September 27 at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park location here in Houston.