(18) Running time: 92 minutes
Director: Alex Chandon
Writers: Alex Chandon, Paul Shrimpton
Starring: Jo Hartley, Seamus O’Neill, James Doherty
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
After getting a pretty impressive response at Frightfest this year, British director Alex Chandon’s Inbred arrives here in the UK in selected cinemas from 21st September, and on DVD and Blu-ray on 8th October. My suggestion to you, if you like horror, is to go out and buy it or catch it in the cinema if you can. Inbred embraces old school horror, modern horror and everything inbetween. It is offensive (and bloody proud of it), it says bollocks to political correctness and actually has a hell of a lot of fun being a pretty nasty, lovingly made horror flick. With comedy as black as the night and characters you will find impossible not to like, Inbred is a wild ride from beginning right to the bloody end, and there are many many moments here which will have eager horror fans clapping and cheering with applause. Chandon takes no prisoners, has no issues with taking risks and takes us on a hilarious and savage ride of brutal violence and expertly written comedy. Inbred, in short, is almost too much fun to handle in one sitting.
The story follows four young offenders, each in trouble for various reasons, going on a weekend getaway with their two support workers to a quiet village in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Chandon cleverly presents the group, having you quickly make your mind up who might die first, who might live, who you love and most definitely who you hate. The workers have brought them here to stay in a large country house with the plan to salvage some train wrecks. A visit to the local pub has the group meeting the locals for the first time, and with one chap desperate to get the sexy Sam (Nadine Rose Mulkerrin) to eat his carrot(“hey pretty, how about one of your five a day”), it is clear things are not right. When the pub landlord serves “fresh” lemonade which “tastes like piss”, or seeing the locals drinking and singing the song “eee-by-gum” in a pub called The Dirty Hole, you just know there is going to be trouble. However, before all that happens, the story briefly gives us an insight into the young offenders and their support workers, and getting to know them makes the rest of the film extremely effective. Jeff (Doherty) is the support worker who has organised the trip: a quiet, almost shy man who desperately wants to make a difference, and really wants to ‘fit in’ with the youth of today, while Kate (Hartley) is a stern, take no crap type of lady who brings a lot of shouty moments later on. The kids are as you’d expect, and as they begin ‘rapping’ in the pub, you want to be able to tell them to keep it down.
The pub itself is run by Jim, played by Seamus O’Neill in a towering, often hilarious performance, he is the concrete block for the entire film. The less said the better, but he brings to the screen the life of a country pub owner brilliantly and effectively. See, what Chandon brilliantly creates before things go all crazy, is a terrific tale of the divide in culture between the city boys and the country folk. They really are worlds apart: the city lads and their slang and attitudes, and the simple life of the country folk just don’t mix. These country living people have no need for things like TV’s, mobile phones and all that nonsense, they make their own fun! However, whether intentional or not, Chandon cleverly brings to the screen the darker side of country living, the side where outsiders can easily become unwelcome. This has been used in horror thousands of times before, but here it is given a complete blast of freshness, with everyone involved clearly loving every minute. See, that is what really makes Inbred special, not only is there a clear understanding of horror by the director, but the cast all give it their all, clearly knowing the film is meant to both push boundaries and tickle your funny bones. With all involved having a clear focus of what to do, this makes Inbred one of the best horror flicks of the year.
Things go wrong as the young offenders have a run in with some of the younger inbreds, yet what happens is not only totally unexpected, but is hilarious in a way you really believe you shouldn’t be laughing, but you can’t help it. Trying to protect his group, Jeff steps in to fend off the inbreds and falls over, cutting his leg open in gloriously bloody fashion. After a terrific scene at the start displaying the directors incredible skill at filming a brutal murder on screen, we now begin are descent into violence and yet more humour as things turn bad for the ‘outsiders’. The funny thing is, this whole situation comes from the offenders saving a goat from being burnt alive by the inbreds, only to be hit by a truck as it runs off.
This is the kind of humour on offer here, and trust me when I say, Inbred will have you laughing out loud at things you never felt you could find funny. There is a creepy old man and his ferret, a large number of locals once again singing “eee-by-gum” while on the hunt for the city visitors, a man painting his face like a gollywog to put on a show of torture for his fellow maniacs, there is even a man pleasuring himself to what appears to be a porn magazine: on closer inspection, the girls faces have been covered with animal pictures! Basically, this film insults everyone and everything, but it has its heart just where it needs to be. It is far too over the top for anyone to really find this offensive, and by the looks of it many of the cast are probably country folk, playing up to their type casting and really piling on the insanity factor. Hell, we even get a Leatherface type chap waving his chainsaw around. The characters here are hilarious, unpredictable and at times utterly disturbing.
When the violence does kick off, Chandon really delivers with some truly amazing effects. Heads are blown off, people run over, there are beatings, shotguns used to blow people in half and in one of the films most sadistic highlights there is a nasty death by horse! Nothing is left to chance, there is even a build up to a kill as one of the inbreds shoves vegetables up a victims nose! Inbred takes things to the edge, and over it in a true fists in the air type horror flick that you will find near impossible not to enjoy. The superb setting, razor sharp scripting and incredibly focused direction mixed with unforgettable and unpredictable characters make Inbred very near perfect. Chandon displays a lust for horror and a great sense of having a bit of fun with the genre. Being only his third feature length film as a director, this is unbelievably good. Chandon has cemented himself up there with the likes of Ben Wheatley and Neil Marshall as one of Britains most exciting horror directors, and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. Check out Inbred, I can almost guarantee you will not be disappointed.