Drawing so many pointers from the original crop of gristly town-versus-country horror movies that might as well be called ‘The North Riding Chain Saw Massacre’ or ‘The Dales Have Eyes’, Cradle Of Fear director Alex Chandon embraces cliche wholeheartedly in his decade-on return to horror, Inbred.
Embellishing on the obvious reference points with gleeful abandon as care workers Jeff (James Doherty) and Kate (This Is England‘s brilliant Jo Hartley) lead a quartet of troubled youth: obvious dickheads Zeb (Terry Heywood) and Dwight (Chris Waller) and troubled loners Sam (Nadine Rose Mulkerrin) and Tim (James Burrows, who played Eden Lake‘s Harry), into an isolated corner of Yorkshire, where their attempts to strip copper wiring from abandoned train carriages brings them face to face with a clan of murderous stereotypes from the village of Mortlake, complete with a chainsaw-wielding one (Emmerdale‘s Dominic Brunt, bizarrely) who joyously swings his weapon around in Leatherface-esque arcs.
It even goes a little bit League Of Gentlemen as the lead Dalesbilly (Dead Man’s Shoes actor Seamus O’Neill) dons blackface and cranks out a discarded Jim Davidson routine to introduce a circus of torture and humiliation, in which the poor outsiders are viciously and theatrically offed in a barn while drooling yokles whoop and clap appreciatively.
Inbred may be cliché, full of all the expected character arcs (tormented to breaking point, finding reserves of strength they didn’t know they have, they take the fight to the blah blah) and character deaths in the usual order (highlight for spoilers: Idiot Adult, Dickhead 1, Dickhead 2, Sympathetic Adult, Sympathetic Boy, Sympathetic Girl), but the reference points are so idiosyncratically English – root vegetable torture porn, anyone? – that it’s difficult not to be charmed by it. Obviously, it’s offensive to anyone born north of Chester and south of Durham, but the likes of Last Of The Summer Wine, Heartbeat and Emmerdale have all been making the Dales look like a hive of ferret-wrestling simpletons in string vests for decades, and they’re not exactly controversial.