Toronto After Dark 2012 Review: Inbred

Every year, Rue Morgue Magazine teams up with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival crew to co-present one film during TADFF. This year, that film was Inbred, from UK Director Alex Chandon (Cradle of Fear). Unlike previous years’ Cinemacbre screenings during TADFF, this film wasn’t one that was squarely on my radar. Though I had heard a lot of buzz about it online – mostly relating to its violence and gore – I just never bothered to go digging for more info. Well, as it turns out, the violence and gore in the film is really the only reason to watch Inbred, and while it certainly delivers the juicy stuff by the bucketload, the rest of the film is an exercise in grueling mediocrity.

Inbred’s premise is simple: A group of troubled teens head to the rural countryside with their caretakers to try and fix up an old house, where they will be vacationing. After arriving and doing some work, they decide to head to the local pub to get some food and drink. Well, as it turns out, that establishment is filled with hillbilly-type townsfolk who make it quite clear, from the moment the group enters the bar, that they don’t take too kindly to outsiders. In true horror movie fashion, things escalate until the group eventually finds themselves being hunted down by the townsfolk and forced to participate in a public show where they are dispatched, one by one, in gruesome ways. Once they realize what is really going on here, the remaining group tries to escape the town before they become the evening’s entertainment.

Right off the bat, I want to make it clear that I realize that Inbred is not trying to be a smart film. It exists solely to shock and illicit laughs with what can only be described as potty humor taken to the most extreme. As such, I have no problem with its premise, or its explicit content, which is obviously meant to be as offensive as possible. Instead, my problem is that, for a movie that clearly revels in using character archetypes to define its would-be victims and their killers, it spends way too long setting up the story and introducing us to characters that we know are just going to end up as cannon fodder. We’re not meant to like these characters, or to care about them, so why bother wasting time? Eventually, once the madness starts, and the blood begins to flow, things pick up, but by then, the film had lost my attention. Essentially, the entire first act could be reduced to about 10 minutes or so, and the film wouldn’t lose anything.

Speaking of the blood in the film, as I already mentioned, it is here by the truckload, and once it starts, it rarely ever lets up. Heads are demolished, bodies are exploded, limbs are severed, etc. Being that the director obviously meant to give the film a dark, comedic slant, none of it really feels very brutal though, and the majority of violence is played for sick laughs rather than to incite cringing. The effects are passable, and suitably nasty, but I couldn’t help to think that there was too much CGI involved. Given the film’s over-the-top nature, it’s forgivable, and in some cases, it makes the violence even more cartoonish, but it was still distracting at times. Still, gore-hounds will likely find a lot to cheer about in Inbred, and many sections of the crowd were doing just that. For me, though, a film needs more than

At the end of the day, Inbred is what you would get if you crossed Deliverance, 2001 Maniacs, a shoddy knockoff of Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, and a Troma film. The main baddy of the film, who literally spends the last 40 minutes or so running around in blackface and spouting obnoxious carnival barker-ish dialog, especially reminded me of a less effective riff on Bill Mosely in Zombie’s film. If that description sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably eat this up, but for me, it just didn’t do much except elicit a few chuckles here and there, and that’s not enough to make me recommend it to anyone other than diehard gorehounds.

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