‘Boys From County Hell’ Review — A Bloody Good Piece of Irish Horror

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Boys From County Hell Review

Horror is a unique genre in the way that so much of if operates off well-established basics, be they werewolves, zombies, or vampires to name just a few. The tropes of horror’s subgenres are thoroughly known to horror fans so a clever filmmaker can use the audience’s knowledge as a bit of storytelling shorthand. Writer-director Chris Baugh is a clever filmmaker as proven by his wildly entertaining Boys From County Hell, a rowdy take on the vampire film with ample Irish flair.

Eugene (Jack Rowan) is struggling to make his way living in the quiet town of Six Mile Hill. He does construction work with his father Francie (Nigel O’Neill), though he’s not exactly responsibly with his funds as evidenced by the local barmaid Claire (Louisa Harland) cutting him off due to an outstanding tab. Eugene and his friends William (Fra Fee) and SP (Michael Hough) are able to make a few extra bucks by pranking tourists with an ancient Irish tale of the original vampire, the story that the Irish author Bram Stoker used as the inspiration for his legendary novel Dracula. Early in the film, it’s apparent that Chris Baugh is using the opening of An American Werewolf in London and the lore of Bram Stoker as the starting point for Boys From County Hell.

Even the most outlandish piece of fiction has its roots in reality, and soon that aforementioned ancient evil is awoken when construction on a new highway which Eugene and Francie are running unearths the tomb of Ireland’s initial vampire. With blood literally pouring through the street, Eugene and his boozy buddies alongside his disapproving father must confront the horrors they inadvertently uncovered.

Because Boys From County Hell is wading in well-established genre tropes, it’s not exactly full of surprises. The film’s plot twists aren’t so much earth-shattering revelations but a means by which to raise the stakes. While the plotting may not surprise viewers that doesn’t mean the film doesn’t deliver some genuinely surprising moments, mainly with its escalating violence. There’s no shortage of blood in Boys From County Hell, and it was certainly presented with enough visual verve that this gorehound was having fun with the macabre mayhem throughout.

What’s most surprising about Boys From County Hell is how deftly it handles the father-son relationship between Eugene and Francie. There are moments that prove comical, such as any scene where is forced to show earnest emotion that makes him break his masculine façade. But the film really gets into a fraught familial relationship, one rooted in paternal disappointment towards a son who has his share of mistakes. Amidst all the blood chaos unfolding, Boys From County Hell has plenty of room for genuine exploration of familial masculinity without sacrificing its sense of fun.

Boys From County Hell isn’t a revolutionary work of horror filmmaking. It’s a sturdy film that provides a pretty entertaining 90 minutes of blood and guts with an Irish brogue. Boys From County Hell gave me everything I wanted from an Irish vampire movie – plenty of ghastly death scenes oozing with gore and plenty of profane laughs.

  • Boys From County Hell
3.5

Overall Score

A bloody and bloody fun work of Irish horror, Boys From County Hell takes the lore of Bram Stoker and warps it into a comically gory twist on vampires.

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