Convicted child murderer Kemper (McEwan) wages a campaign of death and destruction from his padded cell in the aptly-named Amicus Asylum, using loyal servant ("The Man", played by Dani Filth) to exact the bloodiest revenge on those responsible for his incarceration.
Made as an irreverent homage to the horror anthology, Cradle Of Fear serves up a quartet of in-yer-face tales, beginning with a close encounter between a couple of rock chicks (Bouffante and Melissa Forte) and the filthy one. This gory episode may seem a hard act to follow but, believe me, this is just a warm-up.
Check out: the two petty criminals who get far more than they bargained for, during an ill-advised burglary; a Crash-inspired tale of hit-and-run, featuring Eileen Daly 'doing a Vaughan' over Louie Brownsell's amputated limb, and you will not believe Stuart Laing's magnificent portrayal of a diligent monitor of dodgy web sites, who slowly loses his mind, courtesy of 'The Sick Room.'
In fact, Laing delivers the strongest performance here, edging out Edmund Dehn's world-weary cop - the final name on Kemper's hit-list. Given its two - hour running time, Cradle Of Fear works extremely well, generating enough plot and character interest to keep you involved throughout, as opposed to merely waiting for the next outrageous slice of mayhem to surface.
Director Alex Chandon has built up a small army of fans raised on blood and guts, and this latest offering should add to the numbers; the web-site story in particular, comes over as a mind-blowing assault: quite simply, this is shock cinema at its nastiest! The only real disappointment relates to a few less-than complimentary reviews, highlighting a handful of 'amateurish' SFX shots. As Chandon frequently adopts a tongue-in-cheek approach to his subject matter, I'm sure the scenes in question were intentionally shot that way, thereby acknowledging his formative directorial steps; it's also worth adding that most of the gore scenes are very realistic - sometimes alarmingly so. It may still be too early to confidently state that British Horror has found a new home but, at the very least, my money is on a long-term lease.