Starring Danny Morgan, Georgia Groome, Michael Socha, Kelly Wenham
Directed by Benjamin Barfoot
Jim (Morgan) is something of a doofus, and today is the eve of his 30th birthday. Horrified at the thought that his best pal will soon be a 30-year-old virgin, Jim’s wideboy buddy Alex (Socha) declares that tonight is the night – with his learned guidance, he will walk Jim through the process of treating a lucky young lady to an evening on the town and a night in the sack.
Enter sultry sisters Lulu (Groome) and Kitty (Wenham) who, despite Jim’s cringe-worthy attempts at flirtation, agree to accompany the wide-eyed young men on their night of revelry. There’s a darker reason behind things, though – unbeknownst to Jim and Alex, the sisters are involved in a killing spree… and Jim is next on the hit list.
A gem of a debut feature, Benjamin Barfoot’s Double Date is, quite frankly, one of the best British horror/comedy flicks since Shaun of the Dead. Broad humour meets situational comedy, populated with likeable characters and a streak of bloody crimson. Writer Danny Morgan is superb as the anxiety-ridden Jim, but it’s Socha who steals the show as party-boy Alex – an overly self-assured idiot with a hidden heart of gold.
The murderous sisters get their fair share of sympathy, too, with the reasons behind their series of murders (and their targeting of Jim) sitting square in the middle of genre territory – twisted in practice, but understandable from their perspective. As the night wears on, Lulu comes to form a real bond with Jim – even going so far as to accompany him to his parents’ home for a brief birthday celebration (rendered hilarious by the onset of a dose of MDMA Jim earlier consumed at a club). Meanwhile, no-nonsense Kitty has her eyes set firmly on the prize and will stop at nothing to fulfil her goals.
As Kitty, Wenham is not just sexy and alluring, but an absolute ass-kicker. A trained kickboxer, Kitty’s primary contribution to the final act is in a ludicrously extended fight sequence against Alex, wherein she manages to batter the increasingly incredulous lad to the edge of existence and back again.
The reason it all works so well is the distinctly British sense of humour, backed up by the straight nature of the performances. There’s no winking at the camera, no meta injections or forced laughs – just great characters making silly decisions as they run from one ill-fated situation to the next.
Also key to the core success of Double Date is that besides the bloodshed and murderous intent, there isn’t a single shred of mean spirit to be found within it – such that, for example, Alex and Kitty beating seven shades out of each other maintains a perfect tonality. It isn’t too dumb, and it isn’t too vicious – it seeks solely to entertain, whilst revelling in the playful absurdity of it all.
Add in a cameo by the always fun Dexter Fletcher as Alex’s dad, and you can clearly see the heart that’s threaded through every frame of Double Date. It shines like a beacon, and helps solidify the film as an instant cult classic. As long as you don’t expect the horror to outweigh the comedy, Double Date is going to take you out for the time of your life. It really is that good.