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Shaun of the Vampire: Sickle's take on "Boys from County Hell"

Boys from County Hell follows a young man in a small Irish town as he tries to stop an ancient vampire-like creature with the help of a rag-tag crew of road workers, his bum friend, and his angry father.

Boys from County Hell Review

Sometimes movies remind you how hard some things are to pull off. Boys from County Hell reminded me that it's not always as easy as it looks to balance the comedy and horror of a film. The balance doesn't always have to be even. Most would argue that Shaun of the Dead and especially Tucker and Dale vs. Evil lean more on the side of comedy, but neither shy away from the horror aspects throughout their runtimes as they commit to the over-the-top, whacky gore and playing off the tropes of the zombie and slasher tropes, respectively. Boys from County Hell struggles with that balance, but the imbalance may not fall at the feet of weighing the horror and comedy...

This movie seemed to have its greatest weaknesses outside of the horror and comedy. Too much of the runtime is devoted to the dramatic aspects, with seemingly endless bickering that rarely flirts with banter, and recycled attempts at asking questions about humanity and relationships. Perhaps it was just me, but I got rather tired of every character berating the young man for things he's been and/or done in the past that we didn't witness ourselves. Every moment, no matter how supernaturally-fueled or life-threatening, seems like an opportunity to take a jab at the kid for his shortcomings. I assume it may have been intended as some kind of ongoing joke, but I didn't get the humor of it, just the irritation.

As is the problem with many films that have the "zombified followers of the antagonist" element, the "zombies" are given far too much screen time. There are several reasons I could speculate why this happens...a lack of creativity in the plot, a lack of ingenuity in the effects limiting the screen time of the actual monster, a poor attempt at grasping at the humanity of the lost zombies...Based on the treatment of the vampire creature, the problem doesn't seem to be a lack of ingenuity in the effects. It's not a mind-blowing design, but the draugr-like approach to the vampire's appearance gives it a feeling of freshness away from the fanciful and feral variants. Sadly, that's where I became disconnected from the creature.

As was the case with the vampire approach in Blood Vessel, I get a little lost on the supernatural abilities of the creature. I get a little annoyed when the monster, superhero, or wizard keeps pulling new abilities seemingly out of nowhere that completely kill plot continuity with questions like, "why didn't you use that before/the whole time?" or "why aren't you using that overpowered ability now?" I asked these two questions far too many times while watching this movie and waiting for the actual creature causing all this destruction and madness to show up.

Boys from Count Hell wasn't a complete waste. Enough is happening that the film is interesting to watch and enjoyable, but it isn't near as humorous as it thinks it is, isn't as terrifying as it implies it is, and most certainly lacks the consistent pacing that helps horror comedies thrive easily. The film chooses to drag through its weak attempts at character development, rather than embrace the ridiculousness at all times. Which is a shame, because when it goes full ham, it's a pleasure to watch.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 5/10

Film Quality: 5/10

#boysfromcountyhell #bloodvessel

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