Review: Inbred/ Cert: 18 / Directed by Alex Chandon / Screenplay: Alex Chandon, Paul Shrimpton / Starring: Jo Hartley, James Doherty, James Burrows, Seamus O’Neill, Dominic Brunt / Release Date: October 15th
The great British horror movie renaissance continues with Alex Chandon’s Inbred, a new take on the familiar ‘backwoods’ subgenre in which a bunch of naïve innocents encounter a group of freaky weirdos in some Godforsaken wilderness and then get offed in eye-wateringly graphic style. Never exactly feel good movies, Inbred goes just that little bit further and, in all honesty, you might feel like a good bath and a breath of fresh air after you’ve enjoyed/endured it, just to reassure yourself that you’ve not been completely desensitised. Inbred is ugly, mean-minded, brutal and desperately, hopelessly bleak and whilst it’s in no way a bad movie - it’s technically very proficient and the performances are generally strong - it can’t help but leave a bit of a sour taste in your mouth when you emerge, raw, battered and bruised, at the end of its ninety-minute running time.
A bunch of irritating and cocky troubled young offenders are taken on a community service character-building weekend by a pair of social workers. But this is no jolly to Alton Towers or Blackpool Pleasure Beach; for reasons unknown this little collective set off to the ominously named village of Mortlake deep in the heart of remotest Yorkshire. They base themselves in a ramshackle country cottage before heading down the local hostelry (or should that be hostilery?) which is gloriously named ‘The Dirty Hole’ where they feast on hairy pork scratchings and dubious warm lemonade. The pub is full of we-don’t-like-strangers-’round-’ere snaggle-toothed locals and run by the bluff but genial Jim (O’Neill) who, we find out, does a bit of amateur entertaining in his spare time. Later in the day the soft Southerners have a dodgy encounter with some particularly inbred youths - and a bad day for the visitors gets a whole lot worse.
Inbred may well be the grossest, sickest horror movie this reviewer has ever laid eyes on. The nature of the beast means that we’re on edge from the very outset; we know our characters are heading towards something unpleasant and we watch with mounting dread as they arrive at Mortlake, set up their temporary base and then start to mingle with the monsters. And make no mistake about it, the people of Mortlake are very definitely monsters. When the bloodletting and killing starts it’s relentless and it’s unpleasant and it’s underpinned by the absolute weirdness of the ‘inbreds’ and their surreal ‘theatre’ in which Jim, in blackface master-of-ceremonies costume, provides entertainment for the baying, grunting crowd via a succession of appallingly-horrific torture sequences which are virtually Grand Guignol in their excessiveness. Think The League of Gentlemen dialled up to eleven and mix in a bit of Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Straw Dogs and maybe The Hills Have Eyes and you’re getting close to nailing the tone and atmosphere of Inbred.
The reality is that Inbred is a horrible film but then that’s the point. It’s not safe and comfortable and there’s not much in the way of redemption or salvation in store for anyone - it’s just the story of the wrong people in absolutely the wrong place and suffering the consequences. Director and co-writer Alex Chandon (Cradle of Fear; Pervirella) clearly set out to make a gross and disturbing movie and it’s pretty much mission accomplished in the finished product. As a horror film it undeniably hits the spot (often bludgeoning it to death) with a real sense of cold, hopeless isolation in the locations and prosthetic make-up and practical visual gore effects (and just a smidgeon of CGI) which, whilst inventive, are more often than not eye-poppingly disgusting…quite literally in one case.
Inbred is absolutely hardcore horror - this is pitch-black stuff and its humour is as dark as night - and as such it does what it sets out to do and is a triumph of its type. It’s not an easy film to watch but then it isn’t supposed to be. In the end the best that can be said for Inbred is that it’s wildly effective and put together with style and enthusiasm but I worry for anyone who says they found it genuinely enjoyable. It’s for the strongest of stomachs only.
Extras: Director’s video diary, making of feature, footage from the owner of the film’ min location, on-set interviews and deleted scenes.