How much of Ireland has done Bram Stoker in the pages of “Dracula? “Certainly the country’s capricious forests, swampy moors, crumbling castles and stunning coastlines all helped create the atmosphere of the legendary story. According to some folks in the sleepy, fictional Irish town of Six Mile Hill, their cairn played their cairn and its connections To the legend of Abhartach a role of its own to arouse the imagination of Stoker, who once visited the sleepy hamlet. For Eugene (Jack Rowan) and William (Fra fee) It’s more than a pile of stones now and something that allows them to scare the infrequent visitors who walk through them. But one fateful evening they become the “Boys from County Hell“When you discover the legend is even more real than you can imagine in this humble and mediocre horror comedy that reaches neither the climax of a terrifying nor a lateral split.
In a town like Six Mile Hill, everyone knows your business, and friendships can quickly lead to hostility. Eugene knows this better than anyone, as he and his father Francie (Nigel O’Neill) have been arguing with locals lately when their family construction company gets the go-ahead to help build a highway that goes right through the castle. More importantly, the pile of stones that comes closest to being a tourist attraction must be torn down. But there’s not much time left to peek at the page in the pub when one night Eugene and William accidentally knock over the pile of stones and unleash a bloodthirsty, vampiric force. Together with her buddy SP (Michael Hough), Williams girlfriend Claire (“Derry Girlsstar Louisa Harland) and Francie, they have to figure out how to bury the Abhartach again before the night is over.
Despite an optimized premise that is optimally designed to generate thrills and thrills quickly, “Boys From County Hell” takes a lot out of its lean but slow 90-minute running time in order to get rolling. Writer / director Chris Baugh It is very exhausting to establish a bit of supernatural mythology, but at some point it will get in the way of the movie. And frankly, a thorough understanding of how the Abhartach works is not essential. Aside from a few tweaks to your basic vampire lore, the mechanics aren’t that complicated – a powerful, undead creature thirsts for blood, and some well-meaning guys (and a girl) need to stop it.
Once the film focuses on that story, it’s reasonably decent. Baugh cleverly wrote a little story that hides behind sufficiently large stakes. It’s only when you’re a good distance away from the movie that you realize that most of the action is taking place in a small handful of locations and the core cast isn’t getting any bigger. That way, Baugh can get the most mileage possible on a modest budget and get some tricky shots, including a POV oner, which is mostly lightning fast but still impressive. Still, you wish Baugh and Co. had just made a little more effort or gone a little further.
The film’s closest neighbor is “Shaun of the Dead, “That spawned a whole home industry of shabby, regional horror, full of comedy (see the recent and very funny”Let yourself be ducked!”). But where the former can get two different laughs out of the same joke while the strong character is woven through the lines and the latter hisses on its own unique vibe, “Boys From County Hell” never quite finds its own identity. Baugh strives to find a consistent tone, with the characters sometimes switching from real fear to detached cynicism within the same scene. And the film doesn’t make the most of its location and plays the backdrop of the rural Irish city as broadly as possible.
There’s a more rewarding movie here where “The Boys From County Hell” took the humor a little further and increased the fear a little. Without the ingenuity of the best in the genre, the film is designed to be comfortable. But when an ancient, undead evil rises and haunts a small town, the last thing you should be is comfort. [C]
“Boys from County Hell” arrives at Shudder on April 22nd.