It seems like I have been waiting on this movie forever. I can’t recall when I saw the superb teaser trailer but it was some time last year. Sometimes such anticipation can lead to an inevitable feeling of disappointment but I’m very happy to say that wasn’t the case here.
Alex Chandon is a director that I am a fan of. Films such as Pervirella and Cradle Of Fear aren’t for every horror fan but I always get the impression that he has a real love for the genre that he predominantly works in and that he tries to do the very best with whatever resources he can get a hold of. On this occasion, he appears to have had a fairly decent sum of money, great actors and a team of talented people behind the camera to help him provide audiences with this UK riff on the hillbilly horror subgenre. It’s almost like a British 2001 Maniacs, if you like (and, yes, I am deliberately referencing the remake as opposed to the original).
Four troubled youths are taken out to a run-down cottage to start renovating the place and generally build a bit of character and learn to work together as a team. They are being looked after and kept in line by Kate (Jo Hartley) and Jeff (James Doherty), with the latter being a bit of an uptight stick-in-the-mud, albeit with the best of intentions. After a hard day spent trying to make the cottage habitable the group head off down to the pub for lemonades all round. There they meet Jim (Seamus O’Neill), the friendly landlord of “The Dirty Hole”. Everything seems fine, despite the hairy and unpleasant pork scratchings served up as the only food choice, and the group then head back to the cottage. It’s only during the next day, while salvaging goods from some abandoned trains, that things take a turn for the horrific. The outsiders are in danger while the locals look all set to enjoy a show.
First of all, I have to give due credit to a great cast here. The content of the movie may blend black, black humour with gory horror in equal measure but the cast all play their parts perfectly. Hartley, Doherty and O’Neill are all excellent in different ways and the younger actors – James Burrows, Terry Haywood, Chris Waller and Nadine Rose Mulkerrin – also do a great job. Neil Leiper is quite unnerving as a young local man who pesters the group and his unpredictable character starts to raise the tension levels almost as soon as he appears onscreen.
With influences ranging from a certain Tobe Hooper classic all the way to The League Of Gentlemen (a UK TV show that I encourage any horror fans to check out if you haven’t already), Alex Chandon pitches things perfectly between gory homage and something a little bit different from what we’ve seen many times before. The big difference adding freshness to the material is the way in which the onscreen horror is turned into a bit of a show by the villagers, adding a surreal aspect to proceedings. It’s like seeing a chamber of horrors being touted by P. T. Barnum.
Horror fans will also enjoy the very brief cameo from the lovely Emily Booth that occurs at the start of the movie although the obvious CGI may be slightly offputting. Don’t let it worry you too much. Yes, that CGI keeps cropping up throughout the entire movie but it’s far more polished elsewhere than it is in the first 5 minutes. And there are still plenty of great practical gore effects used with the CGI simply enhancing some of the wilder moments.
One last thing. IF someone watches this movie who somehow also happens to be a fan of Emmerdale then just be warned: you may never look at Paddy Kirk AKA actor Dominic Brunt in quite the same way after his superb cameo here as the chainsaw-wielding Podge.
Inbred hits cinemas on 21st September here in the UK and then receives a DVD & Bluray release on 8th October. The disc comes with a director’s diary featurette that runs for just over 20 minutes and a 50+ minute “making of…” piece. Both are a bit rough and chaotic but that’s nicely in line with the no-frills approach to getting the movie made and it’s pleasantly surprising that there isn’t too much crossover material. There is, however, a fair bit of crossover material in the short selection of footage provided by Michael Sanderson. Michael owns Skipton Grange, where most of the movie was shot, and also worked as a crew member. Thankfully, there is plenty left to be shown in the footage from Neil Keenan, providing another 15 minutes of behind the scenes fun. A couple of deleted scenes aren’t the worst that I’ve ever seen but their inclusion would have definitely slowed the overall pace of the movie so cutting them was a good choice. Lastly, there’s the full trailer. It’s a trailer, nothing more and nothing less, and I’m just a bit disappointed that the excellent teaser trailer – the one that got me so excited about the movie in the first place – wasn’t included. Overall, a decent selection of bits and bobs for anyone interested in how many of the effects and major moments were created.
DIRECTOR: ALEX CHANDON
WRITER: ALEX CHANDON, PAUL SHRIMPTON
STARS: JO HARTLEY, JAMES DOHERTY, SEAMUS O’NEILL, JAMES BURROWS, NADINE ROSE MULKERRIN, TERRY HAYWOOD, NEIL LEIPER, CHRIS WALLER, DOMINIC BRUNT, EMILY BOOTH
RUNTIME: 94 MINS APPROX