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Cinema/TV

FrightFest review – Double Date

My notes on the British horror comedy.

This splices lad comedy with horror the way Kill List does gangster film with horror … it’s not entirely a natural mix, though it has precedents in the likes of Vamp and Doghouse (and, ahem, Lesbian Vampire Killers), but makes for a fresh, fun debut from director Benjamin Barfoot and writer-star Danny Morgan, with standout performances from Kelly Wenham and Georgia Groome as a homicidal sister act.  Likable schlub Jim (Morgan) is about to turn thirty and is still a virgin, so his more outgoing mate Alex (Michael Socha) decides that he really ought to get laid – which seems a distant prospect until they run into Kitty (Wenham) and Lulu (Groome), who are trawling the clubs for their next victims.  The sisters are sought-after as serial killers, but their crimes have a ritualistic element which brings in a supernatural third act casting horror-star-of-the-future James Swanton as their dead-ish father.

 

However, before we get to the house of horrors, the film follows the wayward course of an evening in which Jim and sweet-natured Lulu find themselves ideally matched while overcompensating plonker Alex grates on the bloodthirstier Kitty.  Somehow, both couples make detours to family homes, which yields a charmingly awkward sequence as Jim introduces Lulu to his singalong Christian family who are embarrassing but loving, while Alex has to look up his reprobate Dad (Dexter Fletcher) in a sordid caravan and we get a glimpse of exactly why he has turned out the way he has.  The jokes don’t all work, but the structure is solid and the performances really sell the characters – Socha even makes Alex not unbearable by showing the lad’s pain and sly envy of his supposed loser best friend’s home life, while Wenham is stylishly murderous as the most cold-blooded cultist, and even she’s cutting up men and preparing virgin sacrifices out of love.

 

The third act is more conventional horror stuff, with echoes of The Wicker Man and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – but Barfoot manages a segue from shaggy dog story into gruesome nightmare very well.

Teaser trailer here.

 

 

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  1. Pingback: FrightFest 2017 – Complete Review Round-Up | The Kim Newman Web Site - August 29, 2017

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