Boys From County Hell – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Chris Baugh
Starring: Jack Rowan, Louisa Harland, John Lynch, Morgan C Jones, Nigel O’Neill
In cinemas August 6th
The phrase “Irish Horror Film” usually fills me with, well horror. We do not have a great track record in this genre despite living on an island seeped in horror myths, legends and icons. One such horror icon whose life began in Ireland was Count Dracula. Yes, the character may have its origins in Transylvania in the book but creator Bram Stoker was born and raised in Ireland and that absolutely coloured the story.
Buagh, who writes and directs this comedy-horror take this legacy and runs with it setting the story in the fictional town of Six Mile Hill which is a haven for tourists who flock to check out a moss-encrusted burial cairn, rumoured to mark the spot where vampire Abhartach was laid to rest.
Legend claims that Abhartach’s reign of terror inspired Dublin-born author Bram Stoker to pen Dracula at the tail end of the 19th century and the locals completely milk this naming the town pub after the author and taking tourists out on dubious walking tours.
Eugene Moffet (Rowan) is one of a group of friends who have been guilty of taking advantage of these gullible tourists. However, if his contractor father Francie (O’Neill) has his way there will be nothing to entice the visitors to the area, as he orders his crew to disturb the burial site while building an unpopular bypass that has seen some residents delivered demolition orders.
Anyone who’s ever seen a horror film knows what happens next. Disturbing the plot awakens a great evil and Eugene and his friends must fight through the night to banish the ancient entity that begins feasting on their small town.
There are definite Shaun of The Dead vibes here although this isn’t quite as tongue in cheek as Edgar Wrights offering. However, like that much-loved zombie flick, it does very much focus on the relationships between the characters especially the fractious father/ son relationship between Eugene and Francie.
The humour is pretty droll and more groan out loud than laugh out loud but it works well. Baugh paces this well and builds the atmosphere wonderfully. Although the story itself is pretty simple the cast do a great job. Lynch in particular is excellent as the local undertaker and the father of Eugene’s best friend who finds himself caught between family loyalty and moral duty.
This is great fun and extremely entertaining and while it is not without its flaws, it has enough going on that you don’t focus on them. A gem of an Irish comedy horror movie that deserves to do well.