Dir: Chris Baugh (15, 89 mins)
Vampires get a new bloody twist in this gory comedy horror which, though tonally suspect, delivers. Peaky Blinders’ Jack Rowan plays Eugene, an apparent slacker in the sleepy Irish town of Six Mile Hill, where Dracula author Bram Stoker may have stopped for a pint himself and drawn inspiration for his novel from the local legend of Abhartach, a legendary Irish vampire who is supposedly buried there. A pile of stones – a cairn – mark his resting place, which thanks to a proposed bypass are about to be disturbed.
Naturally once this disturbance occurs, odd bloody things start happening. Soon, Eugene and his no-nonsense Dad (Nigel O’Neill) are forced to work together to combat the menace, along with best mates played by Fra Fee, Louisa Harland and Michael Hough. The cairn is destroyed, yet rebuilds mysteriously overnight; its sharp stones draw blood, and that blood is sucked into the ground as Abhartach reawakens.
Shot through with foul-mouthed comedy, Boys From County Hell remains a grittily nasty frightfest too. John Lynch is especially good at balancing out humour and horror as a father who has to take on a massive burden and spoil the ‘good room’ in his house. The vampire is impressively disgusting, and bloody images of the townsfolk being literally drained of their blood from various orifices are inventively grotesque. Ronan holds the centre well as the put-upon, reluctant hero, though shifts from one-liner to tragedy occasionally jar. Another impressive Irish horror romp, however, after the likes of The Hallow and The Hole In The Ground, with a dash of Shaun Of The Dead’s Pegg/Frost comedy dynamic.
Released in cinemas on Fri 6 Aug
words KEIRON SELF