Boys from County Hell (2020)

Boys from County Hell
Director: Chris Baugh
Writer: Chris Baugh, Brendan Mullin
Cast: Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland, Michael Hough, John Lynch, Fra Fee, Morgan C. Jones, Andrea Irvine, Robert Strange
Part of: surprise movie at the SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 30.9.2021

Eugene (Jack Rowan) is a rather aimless young man who spends most of his time avoiding working for his father Francie (Nigel O’Neill), and drinking with his best friend William (Fra Fee) and William’s girlfriend Claire (Louisa Harland). Every once in a while, a tourist comes along that they can tell about the local vampire legend that inspired even Bram Stoker and show the mysterious cairn where said vampire is supposedly laid to rest – a nice change of pace. But when the cairn stands in the way of the newly planned highway, things become strange and bloody quickly.

Boys from County Hell was the festival’s surprise movie and when they announced it, all they said was that it’s less than 90 minutes and a comedy. “Just what I needed,” I thought, but unfortunately the film doesn’t quite work.

The film poster showing the main characters and an excavator inside the shape of a vampire head.

Boys from County Hell starts off very well. The cairn is creepy and I really liked how they dealt with Bram Stoker and his legacy. I also really enjoyed the effect with the blood. The beginning is also a lot more comedic than the rest of the film.

Because as things progress, the mood of the film gets heavier and didn’t fit with the joking tone anymore (or the other way round). I don’t know if I minded the heaviness more or the fact that the film still joked around after things became so much more serious overall.

McCauley (Michael Hough), Eugene (Jack Rowan), Francie (Nigel O'Neill) and Claire (Louisa Harland) standing in front of a hole in the ground.

Plus, I really wouldn’t have minded if the film had included more than one woman in a central role. Aren’t we way past the configuration of “the hero, the best friend, the weird dude and the girl”? People need to come up with new friend group constellations.

So, overall the film felt rather mediocre to me, despite some really good ideas and fun moments. Maybe it wouldn’t have been necessary to expand the original short (that I haven’t seen) into a feature after all.

Eugene (Jack Rowan) and Francie (Nigel O'Neill) looking at the cairn.

Summarizing: okay.

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