The Boys From County Hell Puts Its Own Bite on the Vampire Genre – Gizmodo

Eugene (Jack Rowan) finds something eerie buried on his property.Photo: Shudderio9 ReviewsReviews and critical analyses of fan-favorite movies, TV shows, comics, books, and more.

The rural Irish village of Six Mile Hill is notable for one reason: a local vampire legend that supposedly inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. But what happens when the legend... wakes up? Thats the premise for the genial yet gory The Boys From County Hell, written and directed by Chris Baugh.

Like most small towns, Six Mile Hills young-adult generation has to make a choice: stick around and do what their parents did, or strike out into the world and start a life somewhere else. Eugene (Jack Rowan), his best friend William (Fra Fee), and Williams girlfriend Claire (Derry Girls Louisa Harland) are approaching that horizon, but only Williaman ambitious, college-educated sports herohas plans to flee. Eugenes renovating an old home on property thats long belonged to the family of his late mother, while Claires working at the local pubwhich happens to be called the Stoker and is filled with horror memorabilia, in tribute to a certain Irish author who may have once visited Six Mile Hill and used a bit of spooky local folklore to inform his most famous novel.

The Stoker is also the perfect place for Eugene and William to troll the smattering of tourists who visit Six Mile Hill specifically because of the legend, the truth of which is bolstered by a curious pile of stones, or cairn, said to cover the final resting place of Abhartach, the ancient bloodsucking creature that supposedly once terrorized the village. Unfortunately for everyone, the grave just happens to be directly located in the path of a new road being built by Eugenes gruff father, Francie (Nigel ONeill)whos reluctantly added his son to the construction crew despite their tense relationship, and who has no compunction about destroying the only interesting landmark in town, much less any time for vampire stories.

You can already guess where all this is heading, and while the route The Boys From County Hell takes to get there does indulge in some tropes (including one of my favorites: the realization that real vampires dont necessarily follow the same rules that fictional vampires in books and movies do), it works hard to make you care about its characters. Eugene and Francie have a lot of personal demons they need to plow through before they can face a literal monster together, and though the rest of the townspeople arent quite as well fleshed-out, you get a sense of how high-stakes their sudden supernatural crisis is.

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Aside from rivers of red stuff, The Boys From County Hell delivers some other gore effects we wont spoil here, other than to say weve never seen a makeshift weapon quite like the one deployed in the final battle, and for that we applaud Baughs creative spirit. We also appreciate his wry sense of humor; while the movie does dig into some emotional wounds, it balances that with a fair amount of goofballery, like a fight scene set to the improbably jaunty sounds of Eddie Cochranes vintage party anthem CMon Everybody. However, The Boys From County Hell is not a horror-comedy; its more like the characters are able to acknowledge the absurdity of their predicamentIf Id been under the ground that long, Id just want to sit in the house and drink as well, Eugene realizes as hes trying to figure out the location of Abhartachs blood-guzzling lairwhile simultaneously being scared shitless.

The Boys From County Hells setting, however, is probably the element that makes it stand out the most from similar vampires-in-a-small-town fare. At times you may long for subtitlesthe thick Irish accents, not to mention some of the unfamiliar slang, can be tough to decipherbut that really adds to the sense of Six Mile Hill being a place with its own specific culture, and thousands of years of history, not all of it pleasant, to go with it.

There are plenty of dead things in the ground around here if you want them, a character tells Eugene after he shows off a skull he unearthed on his propertyand as The Boys From County Hell amply demonstrates, sometimes it takes a dead thing to remind everyone of the reasons worth staying alive.

The Boys From County Hell premieres today on Shudder.

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The Boys From County Hell Puts Its Own Bite on the Vampire Genre - Gizmodo

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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