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Frightfest Film Review: Inbred

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North by North West

When you imagine Yorkshire and its contribution to British cultural life, you may think of William Wilberforce, Charlotte Brontë or Hayley Longster. Alex Chandon however, a North Londoner, brings an altogether more bigoted perspective to his tale of Southern delinquents and their care workers, besieged by a village of degenerate lads and lassies.

As you wade through this technically proficient but deeply depressing one joke movie, a sort of Straw Dogs for the mentally retarded, an awful thought crowns. Could a critical faculty, pregnant with self-importance, miss the point? Is this, in fact, a timely and provocative satire exploring the social consequences of a depleted northern economy and the resulting brain drain to the south? Is Chandon the new Swift?

Well, no, no and no. In fact, beyond a narrow constituency of guffawing metrosexuals, it’s hard to imagine who this is for. Know this: you wouldn’t want to meet them.

At FrightFest, with the festival acting as midwife to a stillbirth, the row behind me had the night of their lives. They roared with laughter. They clapped. They shouted “get in!”, as characters were brutalised. They sang along with the buck toothed locals on-screen. This, however, was the row reserved for the cast and their friends.

Notably quieter were the paying customers; poor fools who hadn’t had the foresight to be in the film and so couldn’t enjoy watching themselves; who’d seen Northern comedians revel in the region’s dark comedic sensibility without the condescension, in superior fare like The League of Gentleman and Psychoville, and lamented this knock off’s witlessness.

Inbred is a terrible movie. It boils over with hate. It’s offensively obvious. The troupe of victims, wasted youth for the most part but still cultural colossi when stacked against these racist, goat burning, bestial porn-loving bumpkins, do a fine job of registering suitable panic as their numbers dwindle, but the fear fails to cross over, not least because they’re on the run from a set of cartoon characters; caricatures so broad that they overshoot comedy completely.

Chandon, you sense, saw this review coming. He had a copy of the likely criticisms stapled to the shooting script. Consequently the film opens with an attempt to pre-empt them. In the prologue, a film within the film, a couple of upper class clichés are murdered by an axe swinging northern servant who doesn’t care for their imperiousness. ‘Look,’ says Chandon, ‘I do inverted snobbery as well as classic’. It’s a half-hearted apology for what follows and unlikely to be accepted by anyone north of Milton Keynes.

Directed by: Alex Chandon

Country: UK

Year: 2011

Running Time: 95 mins

Certificate: 18 for regional cliches and witlessness.

11 Responses

  1. Paul Shrimpton says:

    Hello Ed,
    Must admit but, I’m new to your web site and splendid it looks too. I co- wrote Inbred. I’ve kept real quiet on the whole debate about the film but feel I must speak out. Solely after reading your very ‘to the point’ and most interestinenenest review.
    Of course I completely disagree with you… And, because I’m from the North ….In fact Yorkshire…And have lived there all my life. Know for a fact that your above review is absolute kipper talk.
    You cheeky fish finger.
    The ‘southerners’ I thought were the ones most most vulnerable to stereotype as they were all portrayed as arses and buffoons…but of a more southern persuasion. The northerners won anyway. Who knows maybe the South will win in the multi-million pound ‘Inbred Too: Landan Tarn’…. To read into something as ridiculous as ‘Inbred’ which it is.
    Ridiculous…
    Makes me umm, think, maybe you missed the point.
    Bestest.

    Paul

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      Hi Paul, co-writer of Inbred.

      There’s a debate about the film? Well point me to it! I’d like to join in.

      Knowing you’re from Yorkshire should make me feel better but it doesn’t. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable living somewhere else?

      Oddly enough, I don’t think I missed the point at all. Sorry, old fruit. Maybe you didn’t set out to make a movie that hates its own characters and recycles old stereotypes but it’s not my job to tell you what you intended to do, I’m here to tell you what you did.

      Still, it’s only one person’s view. When Inbred cleans up at the box office and is canonised as a horror comedy classic, I’m going to feel pretty stupid. If you invite me to the 30th anniversary re-release premiere, I will gladly apologise in front of an audience. Yes, you can have that in writing.

      One thing though, you shouldn’t spoil your own movie. Some might have held out hope for a Southern victory.

      Can’t wait for that sequel.

  2. alex chandon says:

    Hi Ed,
    Glad you managed to get the movie title right second time around. Always a bonus to spell the film correctly. Sorry you chose to remove my comment though. I guess me pointing out your mistakes isn’t allowed…

    Once again, i’m sorry you didn’t like INBRED, you are the minority I didn’t make the film for so to be expected.
    thanks
    alex

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      Alex, I spelt it correctly the first time around – the error appeared in the post header (thanks for the spot), not the body of the review. Once corrected, your comment, which had nothing to do with either the film itself or my review of it, was no longer relevant, hence it was deleted.

      Rather than trying to embarrass me with pedantry, I think our readers would have enjoyed a response to the specific criticisms made, rather than an unfounded assertion that the majority of people who’ve already seen the film rated it highly. Where’s your evidence for that? You can’t mean the screening at FF, because most of that audience were indifferent (and that’s the most sympathetic house you’ll ever play to) and had you read the twitter comments afterwards, which I did, I think a very different picture would have formed in your mind. As I said to you before, you’re deluding yourself.

      Still, as I said to your co-writer, once the film is recognised as a comedy horror classic and makes every genre fan’s top ten, I’ll gladly retract the review. If I were you I’d just be grateful that someone bothered to scrutinise it. That’s more than it deserved.

      Best,

      Ed

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      P.S: Try and punctuate your comments correctly, for God’s sake.

  3. alex chandon says:

    Hi Ed,
    I’ll leave correct punctuation to you… the word smith who splelled the word ‘INBRED’ wrong in your reviews first post header. Rather than try and embarass you i was just pointing out the rather obvious error which you since corrected.
    In my experience Twitter does not give accurate accounts of life, and my own feelings are those intent on Twittering bad reviews as they walk out of the cinema are rather odd ‘nerd-boys’ who think its great to slag stuff off. Makes them feel good about the world or something.
    I don’t have a problem with anyone’s opinion if our film, i just choose to listen to the opinions of people I respect, admire or who might be good for business. And on those terms INBRED had a brilliant response.
    Again i think you have a very negative and pessimistic outlook on how it was recieved at Frightfest where we had loads of laughs and applause all the way through, and not just from the corner where the cast and crew were sitting.
    Like I say, you are welcome to YOUR own review but don’t lie and tell people the film played badly and don’t speak for others by saying the majority didn’t enjoy it. That is blatatantly your interpretation of events and I say you are very wrong in that respect.
    My evidence is based on hearing from many people, not least of all the festival organisers, fellow film directors, assorted press people (who actually write for magazines), sales and distributors and people who hated my last film. Quite a broad demographic of who was in the cinema.
    I don’t expect our film ever to reach those high accolades which would mean you would retract your review. ‘every genre fan’s top ten.” Wow. I doubt ANY film is in all genre fans top ten.
    I am happy that our film is enjoyed by some, that is all. I try and make entertaining schlock.
    I apologise that my style isn’t your style. We can’t all like the same stuff anyhow… that would be boring.
    Cheers Ed, sincerely. Always good to talk.

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      Alex,

      If you’re going to berate me for my spelling you could try spelling “spelling” correctly for a start… and “embarrass”…and “blatantly”. Again, sorry to correct you but it was an omitted letter, a by-product of the rush to post (I’ve got a lot of these FF reviews to write y’know), not a spelling mistake. I can, you’ll be floored to learn, spell the word Inbred – I lived in Cornwall for three years, after all. Did you like that? A bit of regional humour. You see what I did there? I traded on the old stereotype of people from the West Country being backward bumpkins. Did you laugh? No? Well now you know how I felt watching your movie.

      You were trying, and failing, to embarrass me; it’s a little odd for you to deny it but then denial is your strong suit apparently.

      Also, and this going to be a terrible shock to you, I couldn’t give a widow’s tits if you respect my opinion or not, sorry. Again, it isn’t my job to reflect your interpretation of your work; this is a REVIEW. Naturally I’m crushed that you don’t consider my view important (though readers might wonder why you’re spending this much time arguing the toss), but again, and I hope you’re sitting down, I don’t rely on feedback for validation, or indeed vindication. Whether you like the review or not is irrelevant.

      It’s dangerous for you to dismiss the Fright Fest crowd as “nerd boys” – that’s your audience. The people who attend that festival care more than most about the genre, that’s why they come, and the one thing you’ll notice is that most take phones, ipads and other fucking annoying distractions into the auditorium. Consequently the instant feedback from sites like Twitter is quite instructive; it’s a good early indication of how a film has played with that audience. Most of them disliked your movie. That’s not a lie, it’s a fact. Accept it. I was capturing that mood in my review as well as how I felt watching it with that audience. Some will have read it differently, of course, but my review reflects MY experience.

      These are real movie goers incidentally, actual ticket buyers, not the sycophantic media types you allude to. The festival organisers enjoyed it did they? Well I’m fucking astonished. They weren’t going to tell you it was terrible were they? Film directors are your peers (though in your case, only technically) – again a bit of mutual masturbation is to be expected and as for the press, I don’t know who you spoke to but I worry for their critical faculties. Incidentally, I find the suggestion that the opinion of print journalists is somehow more valid, hilarious. I can only assume you don’t read a lot of film criticism. Try it. It’ll soon put any illusions you have to bed. Still thanks, I needed a laugh.

      I’m also a little disturbed by the assertion that you only care about tossing off those that are “good for business”. I’ll let you into a little secret. Do you know what’s GREAT for business? Making a good movie. There’s nothing like it. Then you’re not reliant on festival organisers and your mates in PR – word of mouth lends a hand. I understand you have to sell your movie but I represent the audience, not you, and certainly not the film’s marketing campaign.

      My readers understand that I have no agenda other than to say what I think. The fact you’re here, attempting some kind of half-arsed rebuttal, is astonishing. You put the film out – now it belongs to critics and audiences. It’s no longer any of your business. Don’t whine because you got a bad notice. Get a thicker skin.

      As for the “my style is not your style” bullshit, let me correct you…again. I like entertaining schlock as much as anyone. As a freelancer I have the flexibility to choose the festivals I attend, no one assigns me to cover them. Consequently the fact I was there at all should indicate to you that I like a good horror film. Comedy horror, even better. My review noted that your movie was technically proficient- that’s the aspect I liked. It was well made. The effects were very good. What I didn’t like, and I’m grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to say it again for the benefit of anyone who may have missed it, was that it was witless. You assumed your audience were idiots who’d laugh because your movie regurgitated old stereotypes, and isn’t that naughty in this PC world of ours, etc. Well, no it isn’t. If the limit of your aspiration was to make a film for bigots then I think you owe it yourself to aim higher. Audiences quite like being talked up to, know what I mean? Shaun of the Dead, for example, has gore – it’s entertaining schlock as you put it, but it has brrrrrraaaaaaaiiiinnns – it has an intelligent sense of humour.

      Wordsmith is one word not two, incidentally.

      Good luck with the movie,

      Ed

  4. alex chandon says:

    whatever

  5. Paul Shrimpton says:

    Actually,
    I think ‘Marmite’ would be more apt as a last word rather than Manky old ‘Mangos’. You love it or hate it…check out the other reviews…for example AICN and Dread Central. I like this banter. It draws interest to the film. The more you berate it the more I applaud you. I love you. Also what’s a metro-sexual? Up north that would be a dogger with a small engined and slightly weather beaten hatchback. I always thought the Maestro was a little better (more leg room) but what do I know? I thought Talbot Sunbeam’s were cool. But anyhoo. Twitter away on this film review please. I’m sure that both your readers will be intrigued by the hype and possibly buy a copy . So please, please, please, please, push this review you cheeky man you. You’re doing everyone a favour.
    Lots of love and citrus joy filled mango kisses
    Mr. Shrimpton……from up north.

    • Ed Whitfield says:

      Man alive, if you and Alex were as good at writing movies as you are at passive aggression, you’d have created an instant classic. As it is, you’re not and you didn’t. I wish you actually had something to say about the film, you know, something that doesn’t read like a longer winded version of “your Mum”? Both my readers, bless you heart, will draw their own conclusions.

      I’m sorry to say that you overestimate the ability of this review, or indeed any other, to generate hype around, or more realistically, a passing interest in, your movie. I don’t think I could create a buzz around Inbred if I pasted a billboard sized poster onto the side of a 747 and flew it into the White House. Yes, you can have that as a poster quote.

      No one is going to buy a copy.

      Anyway, thanks for your comments, Paul. What was I supposed to think, again? Ah yes, you’re not bothered because you think no one reads this shit and you’re not in any way rattled by the criticism. Well, you and Alex have shown that beyond any reasonable doubt, so mission accomplished. :-D

      Be good and please don’t make any more movies. Many spanks.