Monday, April 19, 2021

Boys from County Hell (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Boys from County Hell (2021)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Six Mile Hill Productions, Blinder Films, Endeavor Content, Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, Automatik FX, Egg Studios, Inevitable Pictures, Shudder
Director: Chris Baugh
Writer: Chris Baugh, Brendan Mullin
Actors: Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland, Michael Hough, John Lynch, Fra Fee, Morgan C. Jones, Robert Nairne
Blurb from IMDb: A crew of hardy road workers, led by a bickering Father and Son, must survive the night when they accidentally awaken an ancient Irish vampire.

Selina’s Point of View:
This is the flick I’ve been waiting for all month. It’s horror comedy, it’s Irish… it’s got so much of what I love. I’m happy to say, it didn’t disappoint.
As it got started, I began to get a slightly darker Shaun of the Dead (2004) vibe. That didn’t last. The deeper I got, the darker it got. When the horror aspect really got going it came out of left field and caught me completely off guard.
By the end of it, I couldn’t really compare it to the 2004 Edgar Wright zombie comedy that I thought it would be lumped in with. If I had to compare the feel of it to anything, now, I’d say it’s closer to Fright Night (2011). It had that same kind of realistic humor meshed with fear.
The biggest difference is that this flick definitely went ten times harder with the terror aspects.
I enjoyed the aesthetics of the vampire more that I can accurately convey. I’ve always been more of a Nosferatu (1922) girl, when it comes to the ancient blood suckers. Interview with the Vampire (1994), or stuff like Vampire Diaries (2009-2017), is fine, but I prefer fear over romance.

No one is taking the vamp in this film home to meet mom.
The creature had a terrifying visage: jagged teeth, long stringy hair, a hooked nose, bone-tight skin with veins pressing to the surface and blood dripping over the dark, nearly blue, flesh. He was gorgeously hard to look at.
I spent the entire hour-and-a-half runtime glued to the screen. Every time the horror got so dark that I thought there was no coming back, they inserted enough humor to add that essential balance that horror/comedy so desperately needs in order to work.
I did notice a couple of errors in the timeline that kind of irked me. It did pull me out of the story a tiny bit, but not enough to ruin the whole thing.
Boys from County Hell was absolutely remarkable.
Boys from County Hell will be available to stream on Shudder, April 22.

Cat’s Point of View:
When you mention Ireland and vampires, you generally don’t find them in the same sentence. That could often be held true for horror and comedy. However, every once in a while the two go together quite well and you can end up with something absolutely fan-freaking-tastic like Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010).
At the same time, that is a really tough comparison because it’s hard for other movies to live up to that unicorn standard. I am happy to report that The Boys from County Hell reasonably succeeded in this particular attempt at the genre blend. The overall story here, albeit, is significantly darker.
I will admit that I’m slightly biased when it comes to Irish-based movies and stories in general. Irish lore, accents, music, and landscape seem to speak directly to my ginger soul. That being said, I’ve immersed myself in a lot of it over the years. I can’t say that I’ve run across many mentions of vampires.
The topic is a patch of common ground that pop-culture horror enthusiasts can latch on to. You say ‘vampire’ and it’s immediately recognizable by most. Unless you’re talking about banshees or leprechauns, you don’t get that same sort of recognition with the scarier of the Irish bogeymen. The Dullahan doesn’t ring bells for most, even if the legend bears a close resemblance to The Headless Horseman.

The interesting tidbit here is that there is an actual Irish legend of Abhartach. I won’t get into detail here, however. Spoilers! If you give the movie a go and are interested in a little more background lore on the subject, give that name a search and I imagine you’ll find it interesting. I digress…
I really liked how this story was pulled together. Urban sprawl and its side effects are concepts familiar to many, and the price for those that live in areas under development is often unpleasant. The characters were also relatable, and I found myself invested in them. The humor was spot on and you wouldn’t have to entirely understand the nuances of Irish culture to get it. There were a few words here or there that were unique to Irish slang, but it shouldn’t be a worry.
The effects were also solid. Nothing looked hokey or too fake. There was one bit that actually had me cringing a bit because of the realistic nature of a particular wound in a scene. I mean, ow. I believed everything that they were selling. 
Well done for the relatively new Six Mile Hill Production for this gem. Good acting, good story, and I had a great time watching. Shudder has scored a good one with The Boys from County Hell. It’s one of the many that make it worth the reasonable subscription fee. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4.5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
P.S. If you’re not overly familiar with Irish accents, you may need captions.
Movie Trailer:

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