Monday Morning Movie Review: Boys from County Hell (2020)

Today is my birthday.  I’m thirty-seven today, and am on the downward slide towards forty.

But even on my birthday, I must deliver the goods.  Since it’s Monday, that means a movie review, and this flick is really quite fun.

The film is Boys from County Hell (2020), a comedic vampire movie that takes place in rural Ireland.  My family and I had the opportunity to visit Ireland in 2006, and the film’s setting really reminded me of that trip.

The premise is straightforward:  in the small, dying town of Six Mile Hill, there is a stone cairn in the middle of a farmer’s field.  The cairn is said to be the grave of Abhartach, an ancient Irish vampire who is said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The cairn—indeed, the entire town—is threatened by a proposed new bypass.  The bypass will route so much traffic away from the town, it will kill the struggling local economy.  Naturally, the construction will also move directly through the cairn.

You can probably see where this is going.

What makes this film so enjoyable is not just the Irish setting, which I enjoyed, or the interesting take on the vampire mythos.  Rather, the protagonist and supporting characters really give life to the film.  The protagonist is Eugene Moffat (Jack Rowan), a bit of a loser who is adrift in life, but fiercely loyal to his town and friends.  He hates that his town is dying, and that his best friend is moving to Australia in search of better prospects.  The two enjoy one last bender together before wandering back to Eugene’s farmhouse.  On the way, they pass by the cairn, where Eugene’s friend cuts himself on one of the stones… before being gored to death by a wild boar!

Eugene witnesses his friend’s blood seeping—almost pulled—into the ground.  Naturally, old Abhartach is drinking up after centuries of hungry burial.

Meanwhile, Eugene’s disapproving father has accepted the contract to build the bypass, which will destroy Six Mile Hill.  The townspeople are devastated and angered at the news, and Eugene, his father, and their tiny work crew (funnyman SP and tomboy Claire) find themselves ostracized from the other town folk.  After disassembling the cairn, the crew finds it rebuilt the following day.

Ultimately, while working one evening, Abhartach rises up and attacks the crew.  This sets into motion the action of the film, as the quartet tries—unsuccessfully—to combat the vampire with various methods gleaned from popular culture:  sunlight, garlic, Holy Water, and the like.  One anonymous worker is bitten, and the crew humorously tries various methods to dispatch with him, even impaling him on a metal pole.  Finally, Claire dumps a bunch of rocks and soil on him, burying the vampiric construction worker so he can’t climb up and get them.

The team finally realizes that the only way to defeat Abhartach is to bury him again, which is a difficult task, or to behead him.  Eugene’s friend from earlier in the film is also now a vampire, and the distrust between the Moffats and the townspeople comes to a bowl amid the crisis of a vampire on the loose.

All in all, this film was quite well done.  The economically depressed, rural Irish setting was compelling, and made for a unique setting for this story.  The character arc of Eugene—a do-nothing slacker with zero ambition—shows his growth into a responsible, heroic figure.  It’s just a very well-written, well-paced, fun spin on the vampire mythos.

Happy New Year—and Happy Birthday to me!

—TPP

41 thoughts on “Monday Morning Movie Review: Boys from County Hell (2020)

  1. Many happy returns, Port. You can use some of the subscription money I send in a few weeks to buy yourself a dram or two! 🙂

    An Irish vampire?! No, I don’t believe it! Even dead, they wouldn’t be able to avoid the pubs! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’m hopeful that in the next month or so, you review a film you despise. I’ve found, with my own film reviews, that you can really cut loose when you talk about something you detest. It can be an awful lot of fun – the worst part is watching them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thanks, Ponty! I could go for one these days—and I don’t drink!

      This Irish vampire was plenty thirsty. I’m sure the Blood Alcohol Content of his victims slated his more Celtic needs.

      Writing reviews of movies I hate is fun; the problem is that, rather than hate a movie, I tend to merely dislike it mildly, and soon forget about it. I watch so many movies, and remember only a small fraction of most of them, because they’re forgettable (and because I have a bad habit of working on other things while watching flicks).

      Here is a good example of a film I really wanted to like and just could not stand: https://theportlypolitico.com/2021/06/14/monday-morning-movie-review-color-out-of-space-2019/

      Liked by 2 people

      • Brilliant! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        He’s an odd one, Nic Cage. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film he’s been in that wasn’t either atrocious or pretty good. Where’s his in between? That said, he’s not a very good actor. Remember The Wicker Man? Remaking that film was a big no no and why any A lister would want to put their name to that is beyond me. Cage isn’t exactly a poor man, is he?

        When I’ve sat down and thought about, the only American actor I like is Stanley Tucci. Incredibly versatile and in a range of movies with different genres. I can stomach others but he lights up the screen.

        What are your plans for today, by the way? More movies, games, walking Murphy?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ponty, I was wondering why I had a HUGE spike in my stats this morning—then I hunted down the source: your comment on TCW! Thank you, friend.

        I love Nicolas Cage; he’s pretty much my favorite actor. I have not seen the Nicolas Cage _The Wicker Man_, but I watched the original over the weekend, and plan to review it next Monday—brilliant film!

        I think Cage has had all kinds of problems with the IRS, so he will star in pretty much any movie that will cut him a check. We, the film-going public, benefit. Now I can watch him chew scenery in every conceivable genre!

        The plan today is to head to work, haha, then pick up an order from the store. Otherwise, it’ll be prepping for classes tomorrow and enjoying some final hours of loafing before life gets hectic again. D’oh! I might write Wednesday’s blog post, too; after that, I’ll be done for the workweek with posts, and will just have this weekend’s to hammer out.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘bowl’ = boil. Sorry; had to go there. LOL!

    I remember 37. Vaguely. Like Rocky said to Mr. T, “ain’t so bad; ain’t so bad”. Happy birthday – hope it’s the best one ever.

    P.S. Are you still in the doghouse with your sweetie? (Don’t blame me – Alys started it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, dude! I’ll check it out momentarily. We actually start back today after two glorious weeks of break. Fortunately, students don’t resume classes until tomorrow, so I just have a day of “professional development” and the like. Should be a good way to ease back into productivity, especially while I’m still mildly sick.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I did actually read this review because mostly I don’t as you probably know Tyler but having said that I still won’t be watching it because I am such a scaredy cat.

    Okay, so blog out of the way and it is not downhill to forty dear friend, it is uphill into the sun. Once you hit forty you are a real grown up then but y’know you and that girlfriend of yours need to get yourselves sorted! By the time I was forty my children were sixteen with my son about to leave school and I was on the cusp of getting divorced and entering into a whole new chapter of life. Also, I have seen a great hat very suitable to wear at a wedding and I know Audre has her eye on a magnificent fascinator to pin into her glorious mop. Anyway, have a great day, drink some beer, take the lovely Murphy for a bracing walk and scoff cake which is the reason birthdays were invented. XXX (One X per decade, you get four in three years time!)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No worries, Port, and nice to see you on TCW. Took a second before I realised it was you – ask Audre, I can be pretty slow on the uptake sometimes! 🙂

    If you pop the odd comment on the site, the people there will warm to you and come over here, especially when you link in some of your stuff. I’ll keep doing it as and when the occasion presents itself.

    Enjoy your day, mate, and since you don’t drink, we’ll drink on your behalf! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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