October Horror Movie Challenge 2014, Day 18 – Inbred

Inbred (UK, 2011)

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There is a scene, around halfway through Inbred, where a young man has the spout of a muckspreader jammed down his throat and is pumped full of liquid manure until he explodes in a shower of offal and shit. Your reaction to that image should immediately let you know whether this is the film for you. Inbred is as subtle as a shotgun blast to the face (something that happens more than once during the film). It is also very funny if uncomfortable viewing, and extremely English.

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Since the success of Shaun of the Dead, the UK, and England in particular, has been the source of a number of gory, brutal films that prove a horror comedy doesn’t have to skimp on the horror. This trend has given us blood-soaked and viscera-strew comedies like SeveranceBotched and The Cottage, and Inbred is very much in this mould. While some of the laughs come from the bickering, mismatched protagonists, most are born out of the over-the-top violence and sheer wrongness of what we see. Inbred is Wrong Turn seen through the lens of The League of Gentlemen. When discovering a pornographic magazine with pictures of animal heads pasted over the faces of naked women is a minor incidental detail, you know you’ve entered strange and unpleasant territory.

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The basic premise of Inbred is such a well-used one that only its excesses and mean-spiritedness save it from being trite. Two social workers are taking a group of young offenders (from Milton Keynes, apparently) to the village of Mortlake, in the backwaters of rural Yorkshire, for a weekend of work experience and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, as they soon discover, the locals are largely what you would expect in a film like this, especially given the title. Maiming, slaughter and other assorted unpleasantness follow.

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A few things save Inbred from being just another splatter film about sinister yokels. The main one, which may not translate too well for younger people or those outside the UK, is the nightmare version of a working men’s club which binds together the people of Mortlake. The minstrel blackface of the compère and the seedy, forced good humour took me back to the endless variety shows that infested British television in the 1970s, populated by acts who had come out of such clubs. Admittedly even The Black and White Minstrel Show wasn’t tasteless enough to kill random members of the public, although doing so would only make it a touch more offensive.

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The other saving grace of Inbred is just how unapologetically, inventively violent it is. Apparently the full version of Inbred is unrated in the US, although there is a heavily censored R cut out there; this is a film that demands to be seen in all its gory glory, as it would be largely pointless otherwise, so be careful to procure the right version. This is grand guignol comedy, with exploding heads, decapitations and eviscerations played for laughs throughout. If the idea of extreme violence as comedy is repellent to you (which probably means you are a better, more balanced person than I am) then Inbred is categorically not the film for you.

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While I would hesitate to call Inbred a great film, I also find it difficult to find fault with it. The protagonists are engaging and the dialogue amusing; there are enough twists, turns and reversals of fortune to keep you on your toes (although it is not in the same league as 100 Bloody Acres in this respect); and the constant barrage of bizarre and grotesque images and characters keeps the film entertainingly fresh throughout. Inbred is a horrible film for horrible people; if you are as horrible as I am, you should have a wonderful time with it.

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