Here’s a scenario every college student can relate to: You’re at rockin’ party. The music is blasting. A DJ is dropping beats while girls dance seductively in barely there clothing. Everyone is taking shots and doing keg stands, and one guy passes out on the couch. There might be a little bit of drama, but overall everyone is having a hell of a good time.
Now, here’s a scenario you’ve probably never considered: What if at this party, your past “self,” your double, is slowly catching up to you in a very short timeframe? In other words, what would you do when you finally meet the other you?
This is the question director Dennis Iliadis asks in his new film, +1.
“I thought the idea that I found fascinating was: what would happen if you could meet yourself?” said the director in an interview with Campus Circle. “What if you could meet yourself in a really compressed timeframe in a super charged environment…?”
In this film, a group of young people are enjoying themselves one night at a party when a series of blackouts occur every few minutes or so. During these blackouts, the partygoers’ doubles appear a couple of minutes behind them, performing the same exact actions. The partygoers don’t notice these doubles; they’re too busy dancing the night away in the backyard during the present while the doubles are partying in the house during the past.
“We took this idea in a sort of fresh way,” said Iliadis. “These doubles are not evil or aliens…the doubles are just 45 minutes more innocent.”
However, a few people do realize what’s going on, and they don’t necessarily view their doubles as “innocent.” As Teddy (Logan Miller) tries to warn the other partygoers about the doubles catching up to them, his best friend David (Rhys Wakefield) has his own agenda.
David and his girlfriend Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) are having serious relationship issues, so David tries to use Jill’s double as a second chance to say the right things and get her back. At the same time, all of the characters, including David, contemplate what they should do with their doubles – should they talk to them? Run away from them? Or…should they kill them? Every character eventually makes a decision.
Playing a double that is your character but really isn’t your character is tough work. Wakefield told Campus Circle that having a double was “bizarre” and very technical.
“I had a body double…we would sort of act together. I would do his part and then he would mimic what I did. I would then have to go into a studio and film this little part,” he said. “I had to do the facial movements that I would’ve done if I was there shooting it on the day. It’s really very, very complex and really cool technology.”
The +1 cast worked nights for 30 days for this film (“We would wrap at 7 a.m. We’d then be in the hotel lobby drinking beers…I’m sure people thought we were alcoholics,” joked Wakefield), and Iliadis commended their hard work.
“It was interesting because you’re playing yourself, but at the same time, those 45 minutes are a lifetime. I think [the cast] really embraced the idea. They really went for it,” he said. “I think they did amazing work. What they had to do, it was initially very familiar, like characters you’ve seen in teen movies. But then it unraveled in a very different way.”
+1 has indeed been compared to other teen party movies such as Project X (2012). However, as the movie goes on, it becomes something much more sinister and horrific. This isn’t surprising since Iliadis is also the director of The Last House on the Left (2011), a disturbing film that made quite the impact on audiences. Like his previous film, Iliadis’ +1 doesn’t shy away from brutal, disturbing and even gory images.
But still, the film has a sci-fi element that prevents it from being 100 percent horror.
“I first started reading [the script] thinking it was a regular college, teen party movie,” said Wakefield. “The sort of time travel element was very appealing to me.”
A cross between sci-fi thriller, a little bit of horror and a touch of drama/romance, +1 will have viewers scratching their heads as they leave theaters, contemplating about what they would do if they were in the characters’ shoes – and that’s exactly what Iliadis wants to happen.
“The first thing that I want audiences to think is, how would you respond to this?” he said.
This is something Wakefield asked himself while filming, and he answered the question in this interview. “That’s a hard question,” he said. “I’d be curious to see if I would get along with myself. I think that’s what I would do. I would have a conversation and see if I’m a good guy or not. Maybe I would hate myself…but I guess I would have a conversation and see what’s up.”
And what did Iliadis have to say when asked how he would respond if he met his double?
“I really don’t know,” he answered. “There is a moment in our lives when we’re young and we’re unfiltered, and we’re not cynical…our emotions are very raw. So, I could definitely go into the darker track…I’m not sure if I would like myself. But I hope we could have a chat, and I think I know of questions I would ask him.”
So, again, we ask: What would you do if you met your double? When you watch +1, you'll see there are a couple of character-defining choices one can make...
+1 releases at the Downtown Independent (251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, Calif.) on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. For more information on the film, click here.
There will also be a Q&A with Dennis Iliadis and Logan Miller on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Downtown Independent at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Click here for more information.