DOUBLE DATE [Edinburgh International Film Festival]

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Jim has numerous issues to deal with, such as being painfully timid, terminally ginger and still a virgin despite being about to turn thirty. His best friend Alex is determined to rectify the last of these, and after dragging him on a birthday night out to make a man of him they seemingly luck out after encountering gorgeous sisters Kitty and Lulu. However, the girls are also on the prowl, and have a far different idea of what a handily available male virgin can be used for, one that takes a much darker direction.

 

Although the basic concept of Double Date might imply the film is pure horror, there’s also a strong comedic streak running through the film, driven by a sharp script and engaging interplay between its quartet of leads. It’s established from the outset that the girls have nothing pleasant in store for the end of the night, and as they make their way back to their secluded home we are treated to an assortment of balanced character development tinged with a permanent undercurrent of dread.

 

Also the film’s writer, Danny Morgan as Jim has a lot of fun playing with the perception of his distinctly non-leading man looks (“Nobody’s going to fuck you sober”), and the interaction between he and Alex convinces as a pair who have been friends for years without requiring any details of their past. Despite being an archetypal horny sleaze, Alex actually manages to appear somewhat sympathetic, mostly due to the charisma of Michael Socha’s performance, and instead of being the character you can’t wait to see die becomes someone you fear for, as horror traditions dictate him to be the most expendable.

 

It’s refreshing that rather than being a pair of generic black widows, the sisters are also distinctive characters in their own right. Kitty is aggressively confident and far more comfortable with the provocative sensuality required for the seduction of their victims, and more committed to the violence required to see their mission through to its bitter end. She soon becomes the perfect foil for Alex, who has more cockiness than common sense, to the extent it never crosses his mind to question why a pair of beautiful women would immediately zero in on his unalluring friend. Lulu, meanwhile, is shy and demure, a personality far more suited to appealing to the cripplingly nervous Jim, but one that also results in the stirring of genuine affection for him, threatening to derail the sisters’ plans.

 

As the night progresses and more is revealed about everyone involved, the personal and physical journeys are punctuated by some fantastic set-pieces such as a cringeworthily embarrassing family celebration, a quasi-religious experience and the odd spot of impromptu murder, all building to a climax as surprisingly emotional as it is comically violent, featuring what might be the most wonderfully and messily inelegant fight scene ever committed to film.

 

A straightforward but consistently entertaining plot driven by smart dialogue and varied permutations of character interaction, Double Date is a rare fusion of genres that does justice to each, a deft balance of horror and humour with an unusual and welcome amount of heart mixed in.

 

DOUBLE DATE / CERT: TBA / DIRECTOR: BENJAMIN BARFOOT / SCREENPLAY: DANNY MORGAN / STARRING: DANNY MORGAN, GEORGIA GROOME, MICHAEL SOCHA, KELLY WENHAM / RELEASE DATE: TBA

 

Expected Rating: 7/10

 

Actual Rating:



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