There’s blood and banter in equal measure throughout Benjamin Barfoot’s dark, irreverent comedy horror Double Date. The thundering opening credits, accompanied by Swedish psych-rockers Goat, are indication that a unique spin on ‘lad culture’ lies ahead.
The well-meaning but wet Jim (played with comic aplomb and a sweet sincerity by the film’s writer (Danny Morgan) is facing the immediate prospect of hitting his 30s as a virgin. He lucks out when he and raucous BFF Alex (Michael Socha) manage to convince sisters Kitty and Lulu (Kelly Wenham and Georgia Groome, respectively) to join them on a night out, after an initially disastrous chat up attempt. Unbeknownst to the horny pair however, is that the girls have an ulterior motive to party the night away with the duo, and Jim’s virginity might not be the only thing he faces losing.
The biggest relief and surprise with Double Date is just how funny it is. Morgan really knows how to concoct and deliver on a series of comedic set pieces his characters are forced into. This is best illustrated in a scene where Lulu and Jim make a quick detour to celebrate his upcoming birthday at the home of his happy-clappy parents and younger sister. What could have amounted to a brief, self-indulgent comedy sketch, instead turns into one of the funniest moments in the film, thanks largely to the writing and game performances (Robert Glenister really is on top comedic form here
as Jim’s father).
Ultimately, the film rests on the chalk and cheese appeal of both Morgan and Socha and their chemistry together is very strong, as is their pairing off with the two femme fatales. A bloody confrontation later on and literal battle of the sexes between Alex and Kitty really has to be seen to be believed. It will have you both guffawing and wincing. There’s only a briefly sag with the introduction of Dexter Fletcher as Alex’s leering, past it dad. It’s a game performance, but the sequence feels superfluous and Fletcher’ casting, tokenistic. Thankfully, this doesn’t undo the otherwise fine work by everyone, and overall, Double Date is a riotous low-budget gem and everything that a lazy genre comedy offering like Lesbian Vampire Hunters should have been.
Adam Lowes | @adlow76