A group of small town Irish friends enjoy tormenting tourists, thanks to a local vamp legend. However things quickly take a frightening turn when they unknowingly awaken the blood thirsty fiend. Directed and written by Chris Baugh, Boys From County Hell is a horror-comedy with a uniquely fun take on vampires and the legend of Dracula – creating something fresh for the familiar story.
There’s not much for Eugene (Jack Rowan) and his friends to do in the small blue-collar town they live in. They find simple joys in playing pranks on tourists passing through, thanks to their town claiming to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Some harmless hijinks here and there don’t do much aside from providing them a few laughs, however they won’t be laughing for too long.
After Eugene’s father (Nigel O’Neill) is hired to clear land, they realize it’ll mean destroying the supposed resting place of their “Dracula”, known as Abhartach. Eugene, not fearful of the legend per se, takes the lead on wracking the spot. Soon the gang will discover the legend is very, very real. Completely befuddled as to what to do, they will use their collective wits, and luck, to take on the awaken monster.
Part of the NIGHTSTREAM Film Festival, Boys From County Hell is a hilarious reinvention of the vampire legend. It’s well balanced in its comedy and frights, starting off with a bloody bang, while then taking us on a nicely paced journey through some solid character development. When things begin to pick up, in the more supernatural realm, it continues to keep that lighthearted fun, without things feeling overdone.
One of its standouts is for sure the exceptional SFX makeup. The practical effects are top notch and I absolutely loved the design of Abhartach. It’s nothing over-the-top in the gore department, but it’s a film about vampires, so expect quite a few bloody scenes. I also felt like they did a great job of keeping it familiar to what we’re used to with vampires, but also developing and following the films own mythos and rules.
I’m really looking forward to this film having a wider US release, as I really think it’ll be a big crowd-pleaser. It’s witty and emotional (at time), while being a hell of a fun ride. And I certainly hope to see more horror-comedy creature flicks from Baugh in the future.
UPDATE: Horror streaming platform SHUDDER has acquired the film!
NIGHTSTREAM is a virtual film festival comprised of the Boston Underground Film Festival (MA), Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (NY), North Bend Film Festival (WA), the Overlook Film Festival (LA), and Popcorn Frights Film Festival (FL), showcasing a variety of genre films the weekend of Oct. 8-11. Proceeds from the festival will go to the filmmakers and artists, as well as various charities from the respective festivals towns.
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