Director: Benjamin Barfoot
Script: Danny Morgan
Cast: Danny Morgan, Georgia Groome, Kelly Wenham, Michael Socha, Liz Kingman, Dexter Fletcher
Running time: 90 minutes
Jim (Danny Morgan) is one of life’s under-achievers when it comes to love and relationships. He’s socially awkward around women, and lacks confidence in general, mostly because he’s ‘a ginger’ and has self-esteem issues. His best mate, Alex (Michael Socha), is the opposite – out-going, brash, and something of a ladies man, even though he’s actually pretty insecure, deep down, too. Rapidly approaching his 30th birthday, Danny is depressed by the fact that he’s still a virgin. In response, Alex tries his hardest to set him up on various dates or on dating sites, all of which fail miserably.
Fortunately for Danny his luck changes when he meets an attractive pair of sisters in a bar one night, both of which seem bizarrely interested in him. What he doesn’t know is that the eldest sister, Kitty (Kelly Wenham), is a practicing black magician who thinks she needs to perform one final virgin sacrifice in order to bring back to life the girls’ recently deceased dad! However, on a more positive note, the younger sister, Lulu (Georgia Groome), actually likes Jim a lot and wants to protect him. So, the big question is: which sister will win out in the end?
Sadly, the British independent film scene is littered with poorly realised horror projects that go straight to DVD and quickly disappear into the celluloid ether, or, if they’re lucky, Poundland! Personally, I’m hoping that Double Date becomes something of a cult film and remains popular for many years to come as, somewhat unusually, it actually works as a black comedy because of its mostly believable characters and scenarios. Jim, for example, is very relatable and even Alex, who’s a bit of a knob, becomes quite likeable over time. In fact, that’s probably the film’s main strength – having two strongly written, realistic friends who find themselves in a life and death situation; a situation they initially put themselves in due to their own desperate sex drives.
The sisters aren’t quite as well written as the men, but still manage to make an impact, especially Kelly Wenham’s Kitty who becomes increasingly deranged as the film progresses. Georgia Groome’s role as Lulu is less flashy, but is just as important in the grand scheme of things.
Director Barfoot apparently gave the cast some room for improvisation, which seems to have worked out quite well as he’s been rewarded with some very naturalistic performances and some excellent chemistry, especially between the leading men.
The film is generally well shot, although some of the lighting set-ups seem a bit odd, and the eccentric soundtrack by the band Goat works really well backing up the, at times, crazy visuals.
I think my only real criticism of Double Date is that I felt that sometimes it seemed to be trying too hard to hit certain comedy and horror beats, as if it had a list of cool ideas that it was trying to tick off its writer’s list. This came to a head during the film’s OTT crescendo where the director references a famous scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which, rather frustratingly, took me out of the film.
However, overall, I think Double Date works as a twisted date movie for fans of both cringe-inducing comedy and squirm-inducing horror.
Sparky Pictures are distributing Double Date on Blu-Ray. There are some worthwhile special features including:
Making of (32.5 mins) – An interesting making-of documentary that is both enlightening and fun. The director and writer both seem to gel well together and their enthusiasm for the film is infectious.
Deleted scenes (3.5 mins) – We see the murder of the character, Stephen, from CCTV footage, and the dreadful band, The Krabs’, full ‘performance’.
Image gallery – Featuring tens of stills from the film
Trailers – Three different teaser trailers, including one from the girls’ perspective and another from the boys’ perspective.