Film: Date From Hell (***Heads Up: May Contain Spoilers***)

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A bar, a couple arguing, a stranger watching from a corner table. The acting seems wooden and unfocused. Later we discover it was all an act… the argument, the strop, the stomping off, the “Oh no I have to go home ALONE” from the girlfriend.

Yes, there’s a bit of your ‘deconstruction of the horror genre’ going on here. When the couple regroup and are subsequently confronted by the killer, it quickly becomes clear (to all but the killer) that they had baited him, pulled him in.

As a reversal of the threadbare, misogynystic ‘woman in peril’ plot device, it just about succeeds. That said, in the feminist world of 2019, the woman’s lack of fightback rings hollow. It gives the game away.

Then the reveal . . . cue maniacal laughter and, shock horror, the couple are not what they appear to be. The girlfriend rises from the dead and transforms into Freddy Krueger’s cannabalistic ugly sister, and proceeds to eat the shocked “killer”. There’s no room for character development and subtlety in a 12 minute movie. So we feel nothing for any of these three, other than that they are amateurs, and under-rehearsed amateurs at that.

First time writer/director (and frontman of Heavy Metal band, Runescarred) Ven Scott is clearly aiming for a Cabin In The Woods scenario, where traditional horror tropes collide with a knowing, winking irony. Potential problem here is that we expect horror movies to scare us, not fool us. There’s always the risk the audience will feel cheated.

Certainly, CITW provided plenty of signposts, maybe a full length Date From Hell will too.

Scott is touting his Short around the Movie Festival Circuit as you read this. We watch with interest.

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