BOYS FROM COUNTY HELL (2020, streaming on Shudder) is an Irish vampire film that veers between serious and silly, reaching for SHAUN OF THE DEAD but with an effect that’s fun if a bit flat, at least for me. Still, there was real effort here, and it has heart.
The story takes place in a remote village in Ireland, where the local youth yearn to escape. There’s a tourist draw in the area, an ancient cairn of stones on a farm that reputedly inspired Bram Stoker (who was born in Ireland) to write DRACULA (I could find no actual evidence of there being an Irish inspiration; by all accounts, Stoker was inspired by visits to Scotland and a coastal English town). Anyway, Eugene, one of the locals, gets a construction job with his father Francie to start digging a new road bypass through the farm, which will result in the cairn being demolished. This awakens an ancient vampire and a fight for survival.
The story is played as a horror comedy, begging for comparisons to films like SHAUN OF THE DEAD, where the characters are charming and humorous enough that silliness and plot holes become easily forgiven. BOYS FROM COUNTY HELL seems to play it both ways: Instead of punctuating the comedy with sorrowful moments, it veers fairly evenly between these extremes, with the result that neither quite came off for me. Still, once the SHTF, the film gains lift and becomes a fairly good time, and the characters are likeable enough they contribute to the general sense of fun.
Overall, as you’ve probably gathered, I didn’t love this one, but it does have a lot of heart, and I found it fun and charming enough to just sit back and enjoy the ride.