Vampires vs. The Bronx is a tame family friendly film that brings nothing new.
Vampires v.s The Bronx is a supernatural Netflix Original horror comedy for the whole family to enjoy, but is aimed at a young audience. That means that it is rather tame, with no real violence, no blood, no gore but with a social message. It’s about gentrification, and vampires taking over The Bronx which is highly symbolical. But it never gets dire enough, nor serious and the message is brought in a too simplistic way and everything feels very cliche. Not daring or bold enough to be very comical or scary, or urgent this film plays it on the safe side. It will be fun for first time horror fans and serves as a nice gateway scary movie for kids. And that’s how you have to look at it, as an entertaining, not too scary, a mildly funny horror movie for kids.
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Lil Mayor, aka Miguel wants to save Tony’s Bodega, where he and his friends Luis and Bobby practically grew up. The whole neighborhood is bought by a development company called Murnau Properties and the shops are turned into hipster shops. But it gets much more sinister when Miguel finds out that this company in fact is run by vampires. Luckily Luis knows everything about vampires and while nobody believes them, they want to fight back to save their neighborhood.
Why you should watch it
Vampires vs. The Bronx is a very family friendly horror film. With no blood, gore or real violence, except for killing vampires, this film makes a fine gateway horror for the whole family to watch together.
The three boys are three different characters and a bit of the life in the Bronx is shown, but mostly the dark and dangerous side of it. They already had to deal with gangs who want to enroll them, but now they have to fight off vampires too. There’s no side to the story that shows why Miguel desperately wants to save the neighborhood. Only Tony’s Bodega, their friend is singled out as a good guy and a good place. So it only shows one side of the Bronx. It doesn’t show the importance of community, how this community feels and looks like, only at the end, when they stand together.
The story is solid, but also a bit tame. Everything happens as it should be and there’s no real surprise to bring something new and fresh to the vampire genre. The vampires look like Buffy’s vampires but don’t feel that threatening at all. Their motive to take over the Bronx addresses social commentary and is very relevant, but doesn’t feel stressing enough. The structure is conventional and will therefore not be enjoyable enough for die hard horror fans. It’s all very predictable.
But the three boys and Rita do make it a fun watch. They have the feel of the Goonies or Stranger Things, but aren’t able to bring it to an emotional level. The story stays too superficial and doesn’t invest in its characters enough. This could have been epic, very funny or scary, but it never does. It plays it too much on the safe side to stand out of the crowd. Also the ending isn’t that epic, but rather underwhelming.
Vampires vs. The Bronx is still entertaining and worth a watch, if you know what to expect.
My favorite part
Rita was a surprising character. When she joined the group it felt more complete. It is therefore a shame she wasn’t in more scenes and more actively involved. She changed the dynamics so that it became more playful.
Entertainment factor: ★★★☆☆
Cast and crew
Vampires vs. The Bronx is directed and written by Osmany Rodriguez and cowritten by Blaise Hemingway. It stars Jaden Michael (Miguel Martinez), Gregory Diaz IV (Luis Acosta), Gerald W. Jones III (Bobby Walker), Coco Jones (Rita), Joel “The Kid Mero” Martinez (Tony), Imani Lewis (Gloria), Sarah Gadon (Vivian) and Shea Whigham (Frank Polidori).
Duration: 85 minutes. Music: Brooke Blair, Will Blair. Cinematography: Blake McClure. Edited by: Sara Shaw. Produced by: Erin David, Lorne Michaels. Production companies: Broadway Video, Caviar. Distributed by: Netflix.