Inbred, the second feature of last night’s double feature at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, was a crowd-pleasing over the top gory and bloody film that was a delightful take on the oft-revisited hillbilly cannibal genre.
I was initially put in mind of the unnerving Torchwood episode, Countrycide, but soon enough found myself sinking right into the muck, blood and mire that make up this film’s reality.
A pair of care workers led by Jeff (James Doherty) and Kate (Jo Hartley) are looking after a group of four troubled teens Tim (James Burrows), Zeb (Terry Haywood), Dwight (Chris Waller) and Sam (Nadine Rose Mulkerrin) for the weekend, and have taken them out to a remote part of the country for some team-building, therapy and maybe some rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, they have a run-in with Gris (Neil Leiper) and some of his mentally diminished, and threatening friends, and things go sour and sideways brutally quick.
Operating from The Dirty Hole, a pub that could give The Slaughtered Lamb a run for its money, and then beat it to death while it was counting its winnings, Jim (Seamus O’Neill) the leader and bartender, shows them how much trouble they are in by taking a cleaver to Jeff’s throat in a bloody sequence, while the rest of the group is taken captive and locked away for The Show.
The film is so deliciously over the top in its gore, blood, manure (you read that right), flying limbs, and small animals that the crowd was laughing and clapping cheerfully as each new horror was visited on these poor outsiders.
The film does nothing to shake up the standards that are in place for the genre, rather it simply delights in tweaking them a bit, and adding some very thick English accents. The first third of the film, spends some time establishing the fairly rote character types you expect to find in a group of troubled teens, or cannibal hillbillies, but it isn’t until The Show starts that the true fun, gruesome gore, and sheer absurdity kick in..
The show, featuring Jim in a ringleader’s tuxedo and black face puts the outsiders on display before the ranks of the town, who applaud, cheer, and don goggles as necessary. Yet while a couple of the outsiders suffer their fates here, the other ones escape and begin to fight back… only to be hunted by Jim and his kin, including one who follows along in the group plucking away at his banjo, to put us in the mood.
This is a film that will thrive on the festival circuit, in venues like Toronto After Dark, because it delivers on everything it promises, and the crowd ate it up, clapping and cheering each step of the way, not entirely dissimilar to the townsfolk watching The Show, I’m not sure if that’s a commentary on the viewer or not…
It’s definitely not for the squeamish, but so many of the kills are so gruesomely over the top that you can’t help but laugh and clap. This is a film that doesn’t rely on jump scares, in fact, there wasn’t a single one in the film, instead it relies on the buckets of blood, intestines, manure, and body parts (human and animal) that fly across the screen.
It was quite simply a romp. A bloody, and bloody good, romp.