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  Double Date Enough To Put You Off For Life
Year: 2017
Director: Benjamin Barfoot
Stars: Danny Morgan, Georgia Groome, Michael Socha, Kelly Wenham, Dougie Poynter, Dexter Fletcher, Rosie Cavaliero, Liz Kingsman, James Swanton, Benny Bereal, Harry Michell, Jasmine Geohagen, Eri Jackson, Olivia Poulet, Elena Valdameri, Big Narstie
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Kitty (Kelly Wenham) and Lulu (Georgia Groome) are sisters who like a night out on the town, but better than that they like to bring men back to their country house, where they used to live with their parents until they passed away recently. The men they return with are delighted to be with two young women who are so enthusiastic, but there's a reason for that: when Kitty ventures upstairs with her conquests, once in the bedroom she gets them to remove their clothes and at the point it all looks to be going tremendously well, she raises another point: a knifepoint, which she plunges into their hearts. Lulu is not quite as adept with the human sacrifice, but she does try...

Director Benjamin Barfoot and writer-star Danny Morgan had cut their teeth on short comedy for the internet, but what they really wanted to do was film the feature-length screenplay they had, and Double Date was the result of someone giving them that chance. It did well at festival bookings, was kind of lost in cinemas, but eventually, two years later, released on home entertainment which was more its natural ground, which suggests there was not much of an audience crying out for it. That was not the fault of the film, it was simply swamped in the British horror comedy market of which there had been a fair few examples cropping up around this decade, and we knew why.

Do we need to mention Shaun of the Dead again? Probably not, but it had become such a cultural touchstone that even those comedies that were not directly imitating it were lumped in with a collection of anything from zombie comedies to vampire comedies to this, a Satanic sacrifice comedy. The fact that within this subset there was not as much competition did not mean Double Date could stand out without assistance, but give it a go and you would find humour that was crude, sure, but also pretty funny. Indeed, there were a number of laugh out loud moments, mostly thanks to the willing cast's way with Morgan's dialogue (as you would expect, he knew how to deliver his gags).

Morgan played Jim, a man on the cusp of his thirties who has split up with his girlfriend after he found out she was doing with others what she was not doing with him: that's right, our hero is a shy, hesitant virgin and cannot talk to women in a way that makes him sound like anything other than a total weirdo or loser. In light of the modern way this could have gone, bitterness and lashing out, essentially, it was refreshing Jim retained his nice guy persona throughout, and left the edgier quips to the best friend Alex (Michael Socha, familiar from Shane Meadows' efforts), who was far more confident and would have been boorish had careful scripting not turned him into a buffoon who we can warm to since he clearly wants the best for his pal, just not so adept at making that happen with his poor advice.

It is Alex who persuades Jim to venture out to a pub and gives him moral support as he tries to not so much find someone to love, more someone to have sex with. Superficially, this was not a very romantic movie, but once Kelly and Lulu enter the plotline of the blokes, we can see if Lulu had not been a maniac whose mind had been twisted by her Satanic upbringing, she and Jim would have been just right for one another, which is oddly poignant should you take a moment to step back from the mayhem and consider it, as the film occasionally did. Mostly Double Date traded in the comedy of manners, of embarrassment largely, which many a Brit could identify with when the common perception of the ordinary bloke is that he's a bit of a lad, a bit lairy like Alex, yet many more feel the lack of confidence of Jim. For him, the violent Kitty embodies all his worst nightmares about the opposite sex, and the plot did descend into beat 'em ups in the last act that brought up gender issues it was ill-equipped to deal with, but in the main this was a well-crafted debut. Music by masked folk rockers GOAT, who also appear.

[The Sparky Pictures Blu-ray has a making of among its special features that is almost as entertaining as the film itself.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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