DVD Review: ‘Plus One’ Weaves Spellbinding Tale of Identity

Plus One (IFC Films)Plus One, directed by Last House on the Left filmmaker Dennis Iliadis, succeeds as a hybrid of different genres. If you’re looking for a teenage party romp, Plus One has enough party rowdiness and fresh faced leads (Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall) to keep you entertained.

But Plus One isn’t about a set of nubile youths waiting to have their night of hedonistic bliss, as an asteroid crashes on a neighborhood which leads to a supernatural occurrence. Although the narrative initially centers David’s (Wakefield) attempts to win back his girlfriend (Hinshaw) at the party, finding his true love takes a distant second to self-preservation. With the presence of the asteroid’s energy, the revelers discover an exact double of themselves has been created, leading to an all out battle for survival.

Plus One has plenty of wonderful touches, including a beautiful repartee between an eager to get laid Teddy (Logan Miller) and a beautiful woman (Natalie Hall) who might actually be an alien. Ilidias and cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. craft a visually mesmerizing tale that’s punctuated with expert lighting and framing. The picture’s final moments, wherein one major character makes a fateful decision, is also a pleasant and unexpected storyline surprise. The use of twin actresses (Colleen Dengel and Suzanne Dengel) to play the role of the angsty college student Allison and her asteroid creating double was also an inspired creative choice by Ilidias.

For fans, looking for a bit more trimmings to their film, the DVD special features are top notch:

  • Audio commentary from director Dennis Ilidias and cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr.
  • An interview with Iliadis and the cast at SXSW.
  • Cast auditions which has the actors talking about their dreams. Miller’s dream of encountering a deformed woman hidden in the bed of a trunk is particularly creepy.
  • Visual effects behind the scenes segments are also featured, one sequences shows how actors had their faces digitally replaced. The other scene, titled “Sushi Girl Revenge,” shows the preparation it took for for a naked actress to karate kick a partygoer into a cabinet.
  • There’s also a storyboard to scene sequence which shows how the director and storyboard artist composed the terrifying pool fight sequence featured in the film’s final act.
  • My favorite special feature is the three minute outtake, titled “Teddy’s Pick-Up School.” This three minute segment features Logan Miller and Nathalie Hall improvising their way through a scene, and their chemistry is just as palpable than the two leads. It’s a scene that isn’t completely pivotal to the overall film’s structure, but it’s quite fantastic.

Plus One (IFC Midnight, R, 94 Minutes) is now out on DVD.

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