Boys from County Hell. It’s a film I wasn’t expecting anything out of when I walked into the cinema. I can happily say that this film has been one of my favourite films of the last couple of months.
Boys from County Hell stars an intimate cast lead by Jack Rowan who plays Eugene Moffat. Eugene is a local boy in the small town of Six Mile Hill who messes around with his friends William (Fra Free) and Claire (Louisa Harland) all the while trying to rebuild the family home that his late mother left to him. He spooks tourists who come to the town to see the grave of Abhartach an ancient vampiric being who was the supposed true inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
On one fateful night, Eugen and William are messing and tragedy strikes and the town will never be the same again as Abhartach awakens from his slumber.
Boys from County Hell: A different kind of monster
Boys from County Hell is a brilliant film. From its down to earth design to its creative use of monster magic everything feels familiar but with a cheeky twist attached. For example vampires in the film are just different enough in design as well as mannerisms to feel unnatural and unpredictable. Easily the most interesting creative element of the film is how Abhartach the ancient vampire feeds. This creature doesn’t simply sink its fangs into its victims. No this creature’s very presence drains the blood from those around it meaning no one is safe from its clutches. This is brilliantly achieved by an effects department clearly pulling out all the stops to give off this ethereal and unnatural effect.
Along with the horror that is Abhartach, there are the emotional elements that the relationships of the human characters bring. Rowan plays Eugene with a cheeky charm that elevates the already engaging dialogue. Free and Harland also work well in tandem with him. They feel like old friends and when they have to face this inhuman force they do it with that kind of comradery you expect from long time friends.
If there were any issues it is to do with the execution of Abhartach in the third act. He’s a mindless force of nature. I had hoped for something more ancient and sentient. Perhaps he could have spoken ancient Gaelic. This however is a minor quibble and a personal one at that.
With all these elements coming together Boys from County Hell is a lot of fun for both horror fans as well as non-horror fans. The film achieves something that I have felt is missing from modern Irish media. It showcases our fascinating and twisted world of monsters and achieves it with great success. I only hope a lot of people get to see this film as it’s under the radar in my opinion.
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