October 4, 2020 Vampires vs. the Bronx (Movie Review)
If you are a New Yorker, chances are you are very familiar with Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even Queens. Three of the more popular areas in New York City, it seems that Staten Island and, especially, the Bronx are nearly always forgotten. A place many do not even give a second thought about, besides going to Yankee Stadium to catch a game, the new Horror Comedy Vampires vs. the Bronx brings the lost borough to light.
Released exclusively on Netflix on Friday, October 2nd, 2020, the film is directed by Oz Rodriguez, who recently won an Emmy in 2019 for his work on Saturday Night Live, plus features a screenplay from Blaise Hemingway, who wrote for the upcoming Clifford the Big Red Dog. Together they bring viewers a story about an inner city Bronx neighborhood which is being subjected to investors coming in, buying up buildings, and redeveloping it. A similar gentrification some Brooklyn neighborhoods went through some years ago, in this Bronx territory there are three teenage boys who are not going to fade out so easily.
The boys – Miguel Martinez (Jaden Michael: Wonderstruck 2017, The Bug Diaries series) aka Lil Mayor, Bobby Carter (Gerald Jones III: The Get Down series, Benji the Dove 2018), and Luis Acosta (Gregory Diaz IV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt series, New Amsterdam series) – are best friends who center the preservation of their community around a local bodega owned by their friend Tony (The Kid Mero: Channel Surfing 2018, Neo Yokio series). After all, who wants to see a locally-owned shop replaced by some haughty establishment anyway?
To accomplish their hopes of keeping Tony in business, they are spreading the news of a fundraising block party, however, they soon find out these real estate developers swooping into town are more than just rich… they are blood sucking vampires!
Discovering this horrific truth, the three begin to investigate the situation themselves, only to find that the police, the local priest, Father Jackson (Method Man: How High 2001, Deuce series), and their own mothers do not believe their crazy story. Will they save the Bronx before it is too late or will these creatures of the night suck the town dry?
A PG-13 rated flick, Vampires vs. the Bronx utilizes a strong story with likeable characters to bring a good mix of Comedy and Horror that is not watered down. Each of the three main characters have their own unique qualities, plus they have a great chemistry as a unit. Adding to this, the approach to the actual vampires in the film is not bad either. If you are a fan of these types of films, you will immediately recognize the influence of classic vampire flicks, from the vampires resembling the style of 1987’s The Lost Boys, to a scene where the head vampire gets a crucifix branding to the forehead, just like in 1985’s Fright Night.
Chock-full of endearing qualities, the only criticism is that it would have been nice to see the plot developed a little more than over a 1 hour and 25 minutes duration. With this short span of time, you do not really get a development of the vampires themselves, and that would be really great to see because the film itself is a blast. Who knows, maybe they can create a sequel!
Overall, Vampires vs. the Bronx is a strong Horror Comedy that is well-written, has some great characters, and presents a solid message. The message – ‘don’t mess with The Bronx,’ the importance of community, and most of all, you cannot just swoop in, buy up real estate in an inner city neighborhood, and displace its residence. If you try it, the Bronx will rise up… especially if you are vampires. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Vampires vs. the Bronx 4 out of 5 stars.