DOUBLE DATE [FrightFest]

PrintE-mail Written by John Higgins

The British winner at this year’s FrightFest was Double Date, a hybrid of Fatal Attraction-meets-classic Hammer House Of Horror.

A young and attractive cast acquit themselves memorably in this darkly humorous tale of a ne’er-do-well romantic, Jim (Danny Morgan), whose best mate Alex (Michael Socha) is doing his level best to try and help Jim overcome those fears and inhibitions with the opposite sex (which some people probably still have regardless).

One night, their latest soiree in a bar brings them in contact with Kitty (Kelly Wenham) and Lulu (Georgia Groome), attractive as they come and naturally, the hapless males are smitten, particularly in light of Jim’s predicament. Kitty has taken a more than passing interest in Jim, but this is part of a secret agenda, established from the outset to the soundtrack of Yazoo’s “Only You” when they cold-bloodedly kill somebody. Kitty is determined that Lulu gets rid of Alex, but not without a fair amount of difficulty that leads them both to take on a journey into the unknown….

Double Date is one of the most enjoyable and energetic horror-comedies of recent years, certainly one of the best to come out of the UK. Unlike a lot of horror films that reveal a secret later on in the film to try and lure the audience into a sense of dread, this one establishes its intent from the opening murder sequence, playing off audience expectation at times and allowing the story and script to play its part, so that you have to see where the story and script are going.

Rather than create some kind of outlandish through idea (like the other British FrightFest entry, Attack Of The Adult Babies did) it takes a simple idea with long-established motifs and genre expectations and transcends it into its own trademark moments. The performances of the four leads are excellent, particularly Socha, who personifies any number of Northern lads with a hint of the Gallagher in them and provides the perfect foil to Morgan, who captures that awkwardness of a youth who is simply after what most guys want any Friday of the month.

There have been numerous low-budget British horror offerings in the history of the FrightFest that establish their low-to-micro budget credentials without any hint of imagination, aspiring to be what the best of Hollywood and American independent horror cinema can offer. Director Benjamin Barfoot, working from Morgan’s excellent script, certainly will be a name to watch in the future and indeed, Morgan won the Screen International / FrightFest Rising Star Award this year, signalling the arrival of a major talent for the future.

It is certainly great to applaud a brand-new British entry in the horror genre and one that combines the spirit of Brit-cinema with an age-old appreciation of what FrightFest can offer.

DOUBLE DATE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: BENJAMIN BARFOOT / SCREENPLAY: DANNY MORGAN / STARRING: DANNY MORGAN, MICHAEL SOCHA, KELLY WENHAM, GEORGIA GROOME / RELEASE DATE: OFFICIAL UK RELEASE DATE 13TH OCTOBER



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