philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
[personal profile] philosoraptor42

Okay, so I didn't pre-select this group of sci-fi movies for reviews. It was more that I had a lot of movies still to review and many of them happened to be sci-fi. And since sci-fi is my first love as far as genres go, unsurprisingly I've kept checking out new sci-fi movies since then. So here's the latest one I've come across...

+1 (2013)

Oddly titled "Shadow Walkers" in the UK. A title which has absolutely no relevance to the film's content whatsoever. "+1" is a science-fiction film about a group of older teenagers/young adults most of whom are home for the summer after their first year at uni. The party seems to be set up by an absurdly wealthy friend and while this is rather taken for granted, it does at least explain the size of the house in which the events unfold.

A strange comet causes a doppelganger of everyone at the party to appear. Initially no one at the party notices because the partygoers are led to an event outside while the doppelgangers repeat their actions inside.

Meanwhile this party is the first opportunity for the protagonist to find his ex-girlfriend and apologise for the events in the initial segment of the film. He managed to mistake another girl for his girlfriend and yet found himself kissing the other girl anyway. He is promptly caught in the act by his current girlfriend, hence why she is his ex by the time we get to the party.

The premise is actually quite interesting, but the script does not really take full advantage of it. The characters don't really get much opportunity to develop and there are several dangling threads which are left unexplored.

I've heard a few people refer to this as horror and while it doesn't exactly have a horror atmosphere, there is a definite feeling that things have become decidedly dodgy by the end. I'm afraid to say that the ambiguity does the film no favours.

The biggest problem I have with the film (and perhaps this is unfair) is a VERY dodgy reaction I read from a number of people on the IMDB forums afterwards. You see, the ending had me puzzled on how to react, so I wanted to hear how other people felt. I was shocked to see a number of people calling it a "happy ending". There's a nagging in the back of my mind that perhaps the filmmaker also intended for this ending to be considered happy and, if this is correct, then the film is morally abhorrent. On the other hand, if the filmmaker intended the ending to seem as creepy as I found it to be, there's still the question of why it is left ambiguous. It feels like there should be rather creepier musical tones at the end to match the distinct unease of the audience.

Another issue that I probably ought to mention is that it seemed a little racist to have the Nyotaimori woman (naked woman on whom sushi is served) performing kung fu (though actually the rather more racist element might be her seemingly knowing no English when she's complaining about poor treatment). The party has a number of extravagant elements, but annoyingly it often feels more like an opportunity to insert gratuitous nudity than a genuine party. (And you can even see this in the poster.)

I wanted to like this film. I thought it had some promising aspects and I was prepared to forgive it the lack of character development and some slightly unconvincing turns in the story, because a great deal of the film was clearly planned out very well. However, in the end the film is a little too happy with itself. It doesn't make its message hit home as well as it should and what should have been a powerful yet creepy ending becomes one that is easily confused for 'happy' (with seriously dodgy connotations). The film seems unaware of the creepiness of its own content.

There was real potential here, making the final film a bit of a waste...

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