Pop Culture

Reviews For The Uneasily Quarantined:
Boys From County Hell

Title: Boys From County Hell

Describe This Movie Using One Lost Boys Quote:

GRANDPA: One thing about living in [Six Mile Hill] I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Sure and that's a fine coffin ye got there.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3.5 pints out of 5.


Tagline: "Hard work never killed anyone. Until now."

Better Tagline: "My goodness, my hemoglobin."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: In the quiet town of Six Mile Hill, Eugene Moffat (Jack Rowan) and his dad Francie (Nigel O'Neill) don't see eye-to-eye on much. Francie thinks Eugene is an aimless goof-off, while Eugene bides his time messing with the tourists who stop by due to the town's tenuous connection to Dracula author Bram Stoker. But when a freak accident awakens an ancient evil, can father and son come together to save the town?


"Critical" Analysis:
 Nothing like an Irish horror movie to make you search for the subtitles setting.


Writer/director Chris Baugh, adapting his own 2013 short film, may be best known as the director of a handful of episodes of Tin Star and the revenge thriller Bad Day for the Cut. But Boys From County Hell offers up a nifty amalgam of vampire horror and the struggles of the Irish working class that still manages to bring fresh blood to the genre.

Sorry. Won't happen again.

It also doesn't shy away from its influences, from the American Werewolf in London-inspired opening — including a snidely geographical aside about "moors" — to the Barlow-esque Big Bad himself. It makes a certain amount of sense, since there aren't a hell of a lot of Irish vampire flicks on the books, but Baugh throws in enough local color to keep things interesting.

The idea that Stoker was inspired by/stole the idea for Dracula from an Irish legend is a relatively new one, and makes for interesting background: in the movie, Six Mile Hill is the resting place of the blood-drinking Abhartach, and a new bypass is threatening to plow up the area. Adding to the conflict, the Moffats' road company has secured the contract to perform the work, much to the displeasure of their neighbors.

Baugh spends some time setting this relatively mundane tension up, which would've been more understandable had it led somewhere. Once the action kicks in, however, the Moffats and friends are the only ones engaged, and the municipal muddlement takes a lower rung on the priority ladder.

Even then, there's an admirable level of skepticism on display from the main characters, until reality starts biting them on the neck. And you can't help but admire Francie being more concerned with the vampire-instigated job delays than the philosophical implications of the dead rising from the grave.

Eschewing world-ending or other global scenarios for localized mayhem is also a nice touch. And while the movie occasionally falls prey to genre tropes (how hard is it to well and truly kill something?), Boys From County Hell provides a mostly amusing juxtaposition between horror and regional goofiness.

Boys From County Hell is now streaming exclusively on Shudder.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar