While planning to throw a block party to save a beloved bodega, three boys learn that a group of bloodsucking vampires has moved in to take over the neighborhood. Vampires vs. The Bronx has such a simple plot and is not at all subtle in the fact that its tackling gentrification, considering the vampires are parading as real estate developers, killing local business owners, and taking over their shops to prepare the neighborhood for gelato, espressos, and… well, something called Bone and Thread that could either be a restaurant or a clothing store.
After witnessing the death of a local gang member at the hands of a vampire, Miguel (Jaden Michael) manages to convince his two best friends, Bobby (Gerald W. Jones) and Luis (Gregory Diaz IV) that vampires exist and they need to be destroyed in order to save the Bronx. Obviously, it’s a bit more difficult to convince the adults in their lives, so the three boys have to take on the nest of bloodsuckers themselves. Thankfully Luis is the vampire expert of the group, Bobby seems to be the tough guy, and Miguel? He’s the heart, the one who loves his neighborhood so much that he’s willing to put his neck on the line to defeat the evil that has moved in. The boys have fantastic chemistry. Whether it’s bantering, watching Blade, or hunting vampires, the movie thrives when the three are together.
Miguel, Luis, and Bobby are the core of the film, but the movie does a great job of keeping the oblivious parents from being too skeptical and thus, becoming your typical, frustratingly neglectful adults. They clearly see what’s going on in the neighborhood. There are too many Coming Soon signs for them to turn a blind eye to how things are changing, but when faced with undeniable proof of what’s really happening, they show just as much heart and determination as their children. Plus, there is the added bonus of watching Method Man play a grumpy priest.
There is definitely more to Vampires vs. the Bronx than just white supremacy masked as vampires. Bobby has to deal with the leader of a local gang trying to recruit him, reminiscent of his father’s doomed path. Miguel has to come to terms with the loss of a friend and Luis, well, he has really low blood sugar. Each of these boys is going through their own growing pains, even without the threat of the supernatural hanging over them. This may be labeled as horror-comedy, but it’s definitely a coming of age film as well, one that is perfect for the month of October.
Vampires vs. The Bronx is charming and family-friendly, but adults will be thrilled to note all of the vampire flicks that the film pays homage to, most notably The Lost Boys. The vampire make-up was very reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and of course, the boys idolize their favorite day-walking vampire killer – Blade. It has some frightening moments but there’s nothing that may be too scary for younger viewers. Director Osmany Rodriguez does a fantastic job of keeping the movie chugging along and while I wish the final confrontation had been a bit more bloody and action-packed, I was pleasantly surprised at my overall enjoyment.
I don’t know that the movie is anything overly original in terms of the genre, but it has a lot of diversity, heart, and humor that will no doubt appeal to a lot of younger viewers. It really is a fun watch and worth adding to your Halloween flick list!