Last year, Stranger Things’ Joe Keery delivered a career-defining performance as social media-obsessed psychopath Kurt Kunkle in Netflix’s Spree. The young man, whose meagre online presence stood in the way of his dream of becoming a famous YouTuber, decides to use his job as a ride-share driver to go on a crazy murder spree – all live-streamed, of course. Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break follows much of the same principles: a frustrated performer, a mania-fuelled murder spree and a livestream with numbers getting closer and closer to the roof as the bodies pile up. 

A charity shop worker living with his elderly mum, Paul Dood (Tom Meeten) presents himself as a triple threat. “I can sing, I can act and as sure as shit can dance,” he says to the camera, exuding confidence that barely reflects his predicament. In a life free of excitement, comfort is found in what it could be, on the ever-lingering possibility of the one day. Once Dood crosses the threshold from dreaming to trying, the safety net he spent years carefully weaving can no longer hold him steady. 

As with all satire, everything here is aptly exaggerated, from a nun stealing a disabled old lady’s cab to a gruesome culturally appropriated ritual. However, there is a sadness that comes from recognising that, despite amplified, some of the treacherous behaviour portrayed here is merely a reflection of a growing tendency of lifting harmful trolling from comment sections into the day-to-day, bashing people purely for the sake of being spiteful. 

In 2021, watching white men convert rage into murder is tiresome at the least, but Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break employs the central character as a catalyst to much more interesting debates, successfully dodging shallowness. It’s also not bad that it does so with a comedic eye that consistently unleashes flat out belly laughs. 



CAST:  Tom Meeten, Katherine Parkinson, Craig Parkinson, Kris Marshall

DIRECTOR: Nick Gillespie 

WRITERS:  Brook Driver, Nick Gillespie 

SYNOPSIS: A weedy charity-shop worker is set on winning the big national talent show. But when the actions of 5 selfish people cause him to miss his audition, he sets out to seek deathly revenge. It’s 1 lunch break, 5 spectacular murders.