DOUBLE DATE **** UK 2017 Dir: Benjamin Barfoot. 90 mins
Writer Danny Morgan, wittily puncturing laddish bravado, also amiably plays the role of ginger virgin Jim in this often-funny British horror comedy. Approaching 30 and freshly dumped by text message, he has a would-be ladies’ man best friend Alex (Michael Socha) determined to get him laid before the birthday milestone, even if it involves hooking him up with the recently bereaved. Jim thinks his luck is finally in when he somehow attracts a pair of alluring sisters (sensual Kelly Wenham and younger, seductress-in-training Georgia Groome) …though the audience has already seen them stab some poor sap at the very start. A credible, perceptive study of male insecurity is at the heart of DOUBLE DATE, with Morgan’s script cleverly juxtaposing Alex’s misguided mission to induct Jim into shagging with Wenham’s “training” of her sister. The incidental gags are terrific, from the faux “alt” band The Krabs (“Have you ever heard an owl cry?”) to the throwaway detail of Yazoo’s “Only You” as the song used for the sisters’ ritual sacrifices. In addition to Morgan’s empathetic comic performance, Socha and Wenham are superb, with the latter impressively getting the upper hand during a bravura extended fight sequence with Socha. The movie wanders into sitcom territory for scenes involving Jim’s broadly played Christian family and an INBETWEENERS-esque sequence with Dexter Fletcher as Socha’s wasted, embittered Dad, while nodding to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’s dinner table centrepiece for one key sequence. Overall, Barfoot’s mission to make a post SHAUN OF THE DEAD horror comedy that isn’t “one of the shit ones” (his words) has resulted in one of the good ones.
Review by Steven West