A screen-obsessed teen ignores an Instagram chainmail. Big mistake.
Eros Vlahos has something of a history of putting a highly stylistic stamp on his work (see Tortilla and Right Place, Wrong Tim), but from a visual point of view, Double Tap may be his tastiest treat yet. Clocking in at a tiny two minutes and fifty-three seconds, it is frankly astounding that Vlahos is able to establish a status quo, introduce a threat, play out that threat to a solid conclusion.
Vlahos also manages to merge the structure of the horror genre, aesthetic of social media branding and an editing style that services the shock value of one and low attention span of the other. The result is a flashy, highly immersive, tension-filled satire that displays a mastery of storytelling.
With next to no dialogue, we are given all of the information we need about Chilli (Olive Gray) the young woman at the centre of the story, from her interests to parental relationships to injuries not being able to stop her Instagram sessions. The style of the film itself reflects Chilli’s personality and mindset as we barrel at a million miles an hour through Instagram post after Instagram post. The split screen and quick cuts fire constant information at us while settling on nothing…until the Dickless Troll. Confronted with a chainmail warning her to like his post under pain of having him eat her blood, Chilli is given her first moment of pause. Unlike a regular horror film where we are introduced to the status quo of our protagonist at the speed of life, the filmmaker normally has to go to some length to highlight a threat. Here all Vlahos has to do, is slow down the film.
This is highlighted by Jeremy Warmsley’s score, but even with the ridiculous and quickly dismissed threat, the sudden change in pace is enough for a feeling of unease to settle into the air. Working in tandem with frequent collaborator and outstanding editor Flaura Atkinson, Vlahos keeps proceedings moving at a high rate of knots without making it feel rushed. The visually addictive colours and lights of social media platforms are folded into the lighting of the film, making it impossible to take your eyes off the screen. With the film telegraphing the incoming danger, which Chilli has blithely written off, the tension is ramped up further without the film having to go out of its way to do it.
Once the action begins in earnest, the cutting style refuses to give us a clear look at the film’s (frankly side-splitting) monster, providing only deranged expressions and manic screams. The Troll is so over the top he is somehow both terrifying and hilarious. The tone of this film is geared towards comedy, but Vlahos and Atkinson know how to do horror. The latter of these elements is delivered primarily by Gray’s portrayal as Chilli. While the film’s style and tone leans into its satirical aspects, Gray’s response to a vicious intruder is 100% authentic. Our introduction to this film is from the perspective of Chilli’s overactive mind. Despite the short duration, we are fully embedded into her experience by the time the story starts moving so once she becomes terrified, so do we.
This is very much an exercise in style but the craft on display is truly impressive. If you are looking for an example of to-the-point and effective storytelling unlocking the door to an enthralling and gripping experience, then this film will definitely be three minutes well spent.
Check out our podcast review of Double Tap in the episode below.
Studio: Eros Vlahos | Year: 2020 | Genre: Comedy/Horror | Duration: 3 Mins | Suitability: Mature
Olive Gray, The Dickless Troll
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