Boys from County Hell: Home of the original vampire!

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Special Irish Film Festival 2021 Feature:

(L-R) SP McCauley (Michael Hough), Claire McCann (Louisa Harland), Eugene Moffat (Jack Rowan) and Francie Moffat (Nigel O’Neill) – Eugene has accidentally disturbed the tomb of the original vampire and it’s this group here who are charged with saving the township from a mass bloodbath. Say your prayers! Credit – Aidan Monaghan

Unlike other memorable films of the same genre mash-up featuring caricaturised characters, Boys from County Hell wins audiences over through wise cracks and quips between the endearing father-son dynamos in Eugene (Jack Rowan) and Francie (Nigel O’Neill). It’s a re-worked feature length adaptation of the original 2013 short produced and directed by the same team, Chris Baugh and Brendan Mullin. O’Neill is the only one from the original cast reprising his role.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula has spawned modern pop culture hits like Blade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Twilight saga, Vampire Diaries and True Blood to name a few. So what if the real Dracula wasn’t from Romania and every folklore of vampirism we know is actually wrong? That’s the concept behind Boys from County Hell, a bloody tale of the undead, couched in laughs with its quirky misfits of construction workers.

“Some things are older than science. Older than God…
The Earth has it’s own secrets…” – William

In case you missed it, Eugene wasn’t saying “Karen” he was saying Cairn – as in a mound of rough stones like the one pictured here which is typically built as a memorial, well in this case, according to legend, THE original vampire, Credit: Aidan Monaghan

The cinematic captures of this Northern Ireland township will be a welcome sight for iso-expats awaiting international borders to re-open. Pastoral landscapes of lush fields, roaming cattle, and good old fashioned Irish banter promise to soothe yearnings for home.

What’s clever abour this film is the balance of seriousness and humour in-lieu of what often ends up in caricaturised protagonists in similar films of the genre. It’s audience are comedy fans who enjoy the building of tension without having to handle the blood and gore. And for the most part, it’s left to the imagination with minor jolts and bearable scares along the way, delivering perfect timing on the punch line.

Robert Nairne (Credit: Bottom Left image Marlena Maria) plays Abhartach, who looks like and has the same undestructible supernatural powers of a Game of Thrones Whitewalker. Credit: Aidan Monaghan

For someone that’s spoken of alot, the villain of the piece, Abhartach, the real original vampire doesn’t appear until the final twenty minutes of this 88 minute feature as much of the script is dedicated to character development and establishing the comedic tone of its characters.

The film’s direction demonstrates realism and comprehension in intimate relationships as fright and seriousness dissolve into laughter in equilibrium, before melting back into unyielding unexplicit horror. Alot of one-liners and good old Irish repartee make this an enjoyable watch.

Boys from County Hell (play trailer below) screens as part of the Irish Film Festival which expands its reach from Sydney and Melbourne as a national online festival. Tickets are now on sale to the online national film festival.

Click the link below to view Film Ticket options – one, three or full season pass. Irish Film Festival runs from 3 to 12 September, 2021.

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