Movie Review: Boys from County Hell

Aidan Monaghan/BFCHHorror and comedy are two flavors that go surprisingly well together, as evidenced by classics like An American Werewolf in ParisShaun of the Dead, and What We Do In the Shadows. Getting the mix of the two genres just right can prove trickier than it would seem though, so it’s always a treat to find a movie that gets it right. Sometimes you wind up with a movie that’s just plain fun, but when it truly works, it winds up making the scary parts more impactful, because laughing at or with the characters seems to make us care about them just that little bit more, and horror works best when you’re worried for the fates of the people on screen.

Writer / director Chris Baugh seems to have a good sense for how to meld them together in The Boys from County Hell. The “boys” being referenced are Eugene (Jack Rowan), William (Fra Fee), and SP (Michael Hough), and they are just getting by, working tedious jobs and spending time at local pub The Stoker, named after the author of Dracula, who the locals claim was inspired by their own vampire legend. One night, Eugene and William inadvertently disturb the cairn that supposedly marks the creature’s grave, and unleash the force beneath it on their unsuspecting town. Along with their friend Claire (Louisa Harland) and Eugene’s detached father Francie (Nigel O’Neill), they will have to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it before it’s too late for everyone.

This movie isn’t going to wind up as loved as the three I mentioned earlier, but it’s still a decently good time. The comedic elements only occasionally merit an audible chuckle, but do feel natural and help to endear the group to the viewer. Equally, the scary bits aren’t likely to leave the audience sleeping with the lights on, though a decent amount of suspense is built up throughout and the film’s unique twist on vampire mythology is ickily creepy. The cast all do a great job with what the material, even if it is a bit more thin than it thinks it is. It all adds up to a fun little flick that horror fans will want to check out, especially those itching to see someone try something a little new with vampirology. ★★★

Available on Shudder with a subscription. Coming on DVD 9/21.

Not Rated. Contains violence and strong language.

★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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