- Review by Leon Mason
MOVIE REVIEW: Boys From County Hell
The horror comedy; it can go scare scare, scare, laugh, or laugh, laugh, laugh, scare. What it shouldn't do is be neither funny nor scary. Maybe the humour is lost in translation here, as it consists of a litany of language that we all know the Irish love to throw around casually, and with abandon, but it went over this reviewer's head. As for the scares, it's a relief to not have the modern theme of signposted jump scares every few minutes, however the atmosphere here focuses on light-heartedness.
There are many films of this type that work to some degree. Try Black Sheep from 2006, or 2008's The Cottage. The expectation was more in line with Shaun of the Dead, and with the obvious nods to American Werewolf in London; that is where these filmmakers were setting their sights. Only an Irish vampire tale instead. As the opening scenes of the aforementioned stone cold classics of the genre are ripped off wholesale, sorry - homaged, in two separate, almost shot-for-shot set-pieces, we are immediately set up for lofty heights.
The fact that the characters don't bring the viewer in, and that the plot is kind of stale is unfortunate as there are strong points in the film's favour. The rather old fashioned and laidback style, plus the lack of CGI-fest visuals set up a fun romp, and the opening scene is a winner. From there on in, though, it falls by the wayside into mediocre territory, and fails to get you to root for who you are watching on screen. The stereotypes are here and upfront, the bullet points are set out in the script, but it all leads nowhere, fast.
Sorry to say it's all been seen before, and often done better. County Hell does get points for trying though, and having an old school feel that doesn't feel forced. Well done for not being annoying, like so much contemporary horror.
Boys From County Hell is streaming now via Shudder.com