I didn’t know quite what to expect when I sat my self down in a cinema for the first time in a long time to watch a vampire movie set in Co Tyrone.
Whatever, it was, it wasn’t that – and all cards on the table, I loved it.
Horror-comedy isn’t an easy mix to master but what we have here is a very funny and at times incredibly jump-scary movie that will have you roaring in both terror and laughter.
Tyrone is famous for it’s spakes and the way Tyrone folks carry on – and Boys From County Hell was a perfect ode to how country folks just roll up their sleeves and get on with it.
I particularly loved the Da, artfully played with painstaking attention to Tyrone ways by Nigel O’Neill.
Boy did he bring me back to every time you heard your own Da shout ‘don’t ruin that good couch’ or warnings of ‘don’t drink all the milk’ and, dread of all dreads, ‘who left that immersion on?!’
Even a bloodthirsty vampire on the loose in a sleepy village in the arse end of nowhere didn’t put the character out of him – but then why would it when he’s from Tyrone!
“Hard work never killed anyone… until now” is the movies catch line and it was right on the money as the band of road workers tried to stay alive after accidentally waking blood sucking Abhartach – whose legend, some say, inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
You’ll laugh and you’ll jump
As folklore has it the old Irish chieftain demanded bowls of blood from his people that he could drink and and returned from the dead time and again when slain. As the story goes, he was eventually buried upside down under ash branches, thorns and a heavy slab so that couldn’t be raised after having his heart pierced with a sword made of yew on the advice of a priest.
Makes total sense, right?! Whatever you make of the legend, it was a cracking backbone (or leg bone) for Boys From County Hell.
The casting was perfect and it was great to see a few homegrown stars like Derry Girls’ Louisa Harland, Les Mis actor Fra Fee, Medici’s John Lynch as well as Noughts + Crosses star Jack Rowan on the big screen for this perfectly hysterical, rip-roaring ode to the Irish vamp who launched many a bloodsucking yarn.
Well worth a watch – you won’t be disappointed with Chris Baugh and Brendan Mullin’s tall tale.