Rural Middle America has long been home to some of the most thrilling and grotesque horrors of recent memory. The key thing is that the USA is so huge that conceivably there could be all manner of horrors occurring in the more remote corners and nobody would know until it’s too late. It’s why films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes work so well. When you try to adopt this to a smaller country like the UK then you run into a problem of believability as well as the likelihood of offending pretty much everyone who lives in the area. The good news is that despite a rather dim and stereotypical view of those who live in the North, Inbred is lots of offensive and gore-drenched fun.
The setup is so simple it almost doesn’t matter and will not figure into your enjoyment or disgust at this film that it’s amazing they included it at all. A couple of care workers take four troubled youths out on a character-building weekend away to strip copper from some disused train carriages in the small old coal mining town of Mortlake. The youths are loud, frustrated, and unable to not use the F word for more than one sentence. The two care workers are uptight but try their best to relate to the kids. One night a sojourn into town to the one pub (called the Dirty Hole… yeah) reveals the locals to be a bunch of buck-toothed and deformed imbeciles fond of banjo songs called ‘Eh by Gum’ and weird vegetable fetishes. When two of the kids are attacked the next day and one of the care workers injured, the locals are revealed to be a cannibal society intent on putting on a show with their prisoners in a cavalcade of grotesque torture.
Two of my personal interchangeable golden rules for enjoyment of horror are that you either have to make your victims likable so that the audience cares what happens to them or you go in the other direction and make everything so over the top and ridiculous that it no longer matters. Inbred follows the latter rule, which is good because the shouty sexually frustrated teens are some of the most annoying victims for a while so when they get killed the effect is one of relief rather than sympathy. Kudos to director Alex Chandon as he managed to make the first horror film that turned my stomach for a while. The film features such delights as torture by horse trampling and shit-pump in its Thunderdome-like evening’s entertainment hosted by the town elders in bizarre makeshift costumes. Once this mid-act gross out is over with then it becomes a lunatic chase and siege as limbs are hacked and shot off, people are mown down by car, heads explode, and bodies are blown apart. The sheer volume of gore and violence in such a low-budget film is breath-taking and none of it looks cheap either.
So now we come to the premise and its lack of weight. The scary protagonists in this film are not living in barns, they actually have something resembling a functional town with houses and stuff and it’s reminiscent of TV’s Emmerdale to be honest. So would a town of homicidal lunatics be able to remain a secret for so long in these days of Google maps and wireless internet? Probably not. But if you can set these thoughts aside then Inbred is great fun and the perfect film to be enjoyed with some beers with mates this Halloween.