Reviews | Written by Paul Mount 01/08/2021

BOYS FROM COUNTY HELL

Six Mile Hill is a remote and unassuming Irish town whose only real claim to fame is that it was once visited by Bram Stoker who was inspired by the grave of legendary vampire Abhartach – basically a big piles of rocks in a field – to create his seminal tale of the monstrous Count Dracula. Young Eugene (Jack Rowan) is happy ambling around the village teasing naive tourists and avoiding pulling his weight for his father’s local construction business. Eugene is unsettled when his best friend and drinking buddy William (Fra Fee) decides to move to Australia in search of a better life but an accident on the way home from a last night of heavy drinking has dramatic and dreadful consequences both for Eugene and everyone living in Six Mile Hill.

Written by and directed by Colin Baugh, this likeable Irish horror comedy might not fully succeed in pumping new blood into the moribund vampire genre but its undead heart is clearly in the right place. The comedy is often a bit broad and laboured – Eugene’s man mountain friend SP (Michael Hough) gets the best one-liners – and the film’s strength is in its horror, with scenes of blood pouring from villagers’ orifices, drawn to the stone memorial in the field and the creature that lurks underneath. There are some other witty and inventive gore sequences, too, including the moment where a recently converted vampire is impaled on an iron pole, which emerges from the other side of his body with his beating heart quivering on the tip. When he finally appears, Abhartach is an impressively-unearthly creation – the work of Neill Gorton’s Millennium FX, who provided many of the monster designs and redesigns for the revitalised Doctor Who ­– although we could have done with seeing him a bit earlier in the film and imposing even more of a threat of the beleaguered Eugene and his friends. The resolution seems like a bit of an anti-climax too, even though it comes in the wake of a wince-inducing moment in which Eugene tears off someone’s leg to save their life.

Boys From County Hell maybe be only fitfully amusing and hampered a little by its low budget, but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable even if it’s ultimately more workmanlike and efficient than exceptional.

Release Date: August 6th (Cinema)