Comedy is arguably the most subjective of all the film genres and can be tricky to get right at the best of times. Mix that with horror and it is even more of a challenge, which is exactly what filmmaker Benjamin Barfoot has embarked upon with his directorial debut Double Date. The plot follows hapless sap Jim (Danny Morgan) who, with the assistance of cocky pal Alex (Michael Socha) as his loyal wingman, hopes to lose his virginity before his 30th birthday. Their path crosses with sisters Kitty (Kelly Wenham) and Lulu (Georgia Groome), who have a dark ulterior motive.
By keeping the narratives of the boys and girls separate to begin with, the film successfully establishes the tone and the divide in genre style; the lads providing the majority of the laughs with their snappy Inbetweeners-esque ‘banter’ and the sisters dealing with the darker, violent material. In doing this, there’s enough scope to develop the dynamics so that we are invested in all of the characters by the time they collide for a double date that promises bloody hilarity and have confidence that it will deliver the goods, which it does!
Danny Morgan, as well as starring in the piece, wrote the fantastic screenplay, and has created a terrific leading role for himself. He captures the Brit-cringe vibe masterfully and combines naturally with Socha who eases into a part that’s not too dissimilar to the This Is England character we know him best for. After a very funny scene where Alex offers Jim his so-called pearls of wisdom, it quickly becomes apparent that he is just as much of a loser, if not more so because he is completely oblivious to the fact. Wenham and Groome also share an enjoyable on-screen connection though their horror-plot backstory is weaker and not as fleshed out as it could’ve been. It’s when all four are together when the film really clicks.
Director Barfoot and writer Morgan have collaborated for years on witty short films, and Double Date marks a formidable feature debut that sees their working partnership deservedly burst onto the big screen. It’s brave, bold and brilliantly blood-soaked, splicing top-notch comedy and cartoonish violence with aplomb.
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