Six Mile Hill has little to offer the world or the locals; drinking at the pub named The Stoker which plays on the fact that Bram Stoker once visited the village to view the cairn which marks the supposed resting place of the defeated vampire Abhartach, still a minor tourist attraction if only there was an easier way to get there, the soon-to-be-built bypass unfortunately routed through the very field where the cairn sits necessitating its removal.
Unknown to the other residents, upset about the disruption to their traditional lives of farming and drinking, contractor Francie Moffat has been given the job which will also require the demolition of the Bogue family home, father George the undertaker, his son William the best friend of Francie’s own son Eugene.
Turning his back on the changes, William has his eyes on distant Australia, but making plans for a new life is a mistake in Six Mile Hill, and William’s drunken temper and a late-night squabble with Eugene lead to an accident by the cairn, further dividing the village, awakening resentments and a hunger for blood from within the earth.
Directed by Chris Baugh from a script co-written with Brendan Mullin, Boys from County Hell is radically expanded and reworked from the 2013 short of the same name which serves more as a proof of concept than a premise, an isolated group of bickering, hard drinking labourers facing down a supernatural threat using their wits and the power tools they have handy but building a novel vampire mythology with the story of Abhartach and his connection to the village and its bloodlines.
Using disdain of how Stoker stole their story and twisted it to create Dracula as a springboard, legends are a better guide to the powers and weaknesses of Abhartach than books and films, a creature whose mere presence subdues the victim and causes them to spontaneously haemorrhage in scenes graphic and disturbing in how unnatural and wrong they feel.
The dour Boys from County Hell resolved to defend their patch of scrubland against monsters and modern developments, Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland, Michael Hough and John Lynch lead the fight against the dead who stubbornly refuse to lie down, the pace occasionally flagging but with sufficient originality, style, genuine feeling and frequent inappropriate laughs to carry it through to the sun rising over the misty hills.