A crew of hardy road workers, led by a bickering father and son, must survive the night when they accidentally awaken an ancient Irish vampire.
Title: Boys From County Hell | Director: Chris Baugh | Starring: Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland | Release Year: 2020 | Runtime: 88 minutes | Genre: Horror Comedy | Language: English | Source: Streaming
The Boys From County Hell is a horror comedy. At it’s core is the idea that Irish writer Bram Stoker visited this town and swiped all or part of its local legend while writing Dracula. In a field sits a pile of stones. Legend has it under the stones a monster is buried. Tourists visit the town to hike out to the rocks. When a new road is being built and construction cuts through the field with the stones, things start to pop off.
The first act firmly establishes the characters and their relationships. They are friends and friendly and on good terms with each other. There is a familiarity that comes from small town living. Not much to do so grab beers. Talk about shit that was and shit that’s going to be, grievances and dreams and plans. An unexpected loss closes out the first act.
As light as the movie had been up to this point, filled with playing jokes on tourists and bullshitting with your friends, the movie takes a full dark turn in the second act. It becomes a meditation of grief, mourning, and loss. We also get an exploration of fathers and sons and the complexity of those relationship dynamics.
The cast is stacked with great Irish actors. Nigel O’Neill was in the revenge movie Bad Day for the Cut, Louisa Harland was in Derry Girls, and John Lynch from The Fall continues to be a handsome son of a bitch.
A quick shout-out to the cold opening. My long suffering wife has heard too many rants about cgi blood in movies. Nothing beats “real’ blood, which always ups the ante of a scene.
The Boys From County Hell is funny as hell and has a huge heart. It doesn’t shy away from violence but also makes room for some serious emotional moments and beats that will stick with you.
Brian Lindenmuth is the former non-fiction editor of Spinetingler Magazine and the former editor of Snubnose Press. He likes both kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction. He blogs about subtitled TV shows and movies at One Inch Tall Movies
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