Writer/director Chris Baugh delivers a hugely entertaining comedy/horror with Boys From County Hell. The Irish vampire film is perfectly balanced – it’s loaded with laughs, scares, gore and a lot of heart – and this makes it a prime slice of genre cinema.
The action takes place in Six Mile Hill, a fictional Irish village whose inhabitants claim that a visit from Bram Stoker helped inspire the author to write Dracula. All hell breaks-loose when the final resting place of legendary vampire, Abhartach is destroyed by a construction team lead by bickering father and son duo Francie and Eugene Moffat (Nigel O’Neill and Jack Rowan). The pair and their friends must set aside their differences and fight for their lives in order to stop Six Mile Hill being bled dry. Literally.
An expertly developed set-up gives Boys From County Hell rich characterisation – and this means that you get to know and care for each of the characters before the blood-letting commences. This is aided by well crafted performances by the cast. O’Neill and Rowan share brilliant chemistry as Francie and Eugene and you totally believe their friction-filled relationship. This might be a gore filled horror/comedy but it’s really a father/son story at its core. The supporting cast featuring Louisa Harland, Fra Fee, Michael Hough and John Lynch is also great – with each of the actors getting their moment to shine amongst the carnivorous carnage.
A punchy soundtrack and atmospheric score by Steve Lynch, strong cinematography from Ryan Kernaghan and tight editing by Brian Philp Davis means that this low budget Irish film is punching well above its weight. The addition of some impressive special effects means that Boys From County Hell is an entertaining and hugely re-watchable genre movie.
Boys From County Hell delivers everything that you would ever want from a vampire film set in rural Ireland. Throw in some genuinely original ideas and you have something of an instant cult classic on your hands. Seek it out.