What do you get if you cross The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Straw Dogs (1971), with a dash of The League of Gentlemen black humour? Answer – Inbred (2011), the new comedy horror from director Alex Chandon. We start with four young offenders, Zeb (Terry Haywood), Dwight (Chris Waller), Sam (Nadine Rose Mulkerrin), and Tim (James Burrows), along with their minders Kate (Jo Hartley) and Jeff (James Doherty), off for a weekend of bonding and rehabilitation in the wilds of Yorkshire.
Unfortunately, the remote village of Mortlake where they have chosen to stay is also the home to a bizarre and homicidal bunch of misfits who, when unintentionally slighted by the visitors, take a bloody and violent revenge on the ‘outsiders’ they see as having invaded their rural backwater. If the opening paragraph of this review inadvertently led you to believe that Inbred is a slick and chilling thriller which cleverly subverts the hill-billy/mutant family sub-genre, then it appears that you’ve been sadly mislead.
Inbred is a grotesque pastiche of every horror classic you can think of, which ultimately fails through its lack of anything even remotely resembling wit or style. Watching this film it is hard to decide which of the characters you dislike more. The foul-mouthed delinquents and their equally obnoxious guardians who are reduced to gibbering wrecks as they find themselves trapped in a living nightmare from which there appears no escape. Or their equally disturbing captors who make the denizens from The Hills Have Eyes (1977) seem like the Von Trapp family in comparison.
Beautifully shot on location the bleak landscape and isolated hamlets of Yorkshire are the only things in the film’s favour, and form the perfect backdrop against which the grisly proceedings play out. However this stark beauty is soon debased by an unrelenting onslaught of gore, which is so nauseating in its realism that the viewer soon ceases to see any possibility of originality and inventiveness.
There was once a time when horror could be justified as entertainment because it left a lot to the imagination, which is always more disturbing than anything which can be depicted on the screen. Unfortunately, many modern horrors, such as Chandon’s abysmal Inbred, appear to impose no such restrictions and as a result drown in a grisly cesspool of their own construction.