British horror comedies aren’t exactly on the top of my list for required viewing. Probably because the last one that I saw was Shaun Of The Dead. Yeah, I suck. Anyways, Alex Chandon enters the arena with this slice of black humour-laden gorefest that certainly aims to please and offend more than one person. I believe it’s more offensive for British viewers, given the locale and local colour, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t have fun with it, right?
When a group of young offenders from the south of England takes an excursion to rural Yorkshire on a team-building weekend with their social workers, the troop finds themselves in the little village of Mortlake, an ex-mining community. While initially friendly, the landlord welcomes the outsiders to his pub called The Dirty Hole. It’s frequented with a number of shady backwoods characters, who seem a little too interested in the city folk. After an encounter with one of the more hostile locals that sees one of the social workers bleed out, the rest of the locals take a similarly sinister turn, leaving the remainders of the group to stay alive.
As mentioned, Inbred‘s humour borders on the offensive for some. Namely, many of the jokes are aimed at a British audience, as well as gore that leans heavily in the Bad Taste direction. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. The humour is such that North American audiences can easily ascertain what Chandon and company are getting at. The porno mag with animal heads taped onto the women’s heads, for instance. I was also impressed with how much polish and love went into this film. Besides the excellent cinematography showcasing the beautiful countryside of Yorkshire and the great effects, Chandon displays his affection for the genre with nods to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes with the kooky characters. As well, the script is excellent, and not just because of the humour. It goes to great lengths to instill the feeling that the city folk aren’t going to make it out alive, no matter how much hope you have. In terms of effects, it’s your mix of practical and CG, but man is it brutal! Heads are blown off, people run over, brutal beatings, shotguns used to blow people in half and more! Limbs fly and eyes pop (as well as the tops of people’s heads), so those in need of their gore fix can dig in.
As the humour and gore are only part of the package, the acting in Inbred is also nicely done. Top prize goes to Seamus O’Neill, whose turn as Jim, the gleefully homicidal landlord of The Dirty Hole, is brilliant as it is hilarious. James Doherty and Jo Hartley also deserve praise for their roles as social workers Jeff and Kate. While Jeff wants to fit in with his group of troubled youth, he also wants to make a difference, while Kate is the more stern of the two. Both do come off as self-conceited, but given that they’re out of their element in Mortlake, the smugness is part of the divide between the south and north Londoners.
However, this smugness does lend itself to one of the problems of the film: you don’t end up liking very many of the protagonists. Between the bucktoothed bumpkins of Mortlake, and the less-than-pleasant pricks for kids will have you hoping the locals beat their brains in, there are very few characters that you’ll endear to. Also, as you might guess, the humour is not for everyone, since the material does tread on some toes. Jim wearing blackface, for instance. There are also jokes involving mental and physical disabilities tossed in for good measure. Needless to say, the black humour is not far-reaching.
In spite of the narrowed audience, Inbred is still a sharp, polished indie horror gem. The cast does an amazing job, and the effects are off-the-wall fun. And while you may have trouble finding someone to root for, there’s still a great entertainment quotient, and that’s what matters. If you’re looking for horror comedy in the vein of Bad Taste with a bit more polish to it, look no further than Inbred.