While many of the influences for SNL are apparent, director-writer Oz Rodriguez has a great eye for unfolding some great horror that’s absolutely entertaining but also socially conscious (like his contemporary Jordan Peele). “Vampires vs. The Bronx” is a surefire amalgam of “The Lost Boys” and “Attack the Block.” It’s a creepy, fun, horror flick with an all Latinx and African American cast that’s also very clear cut condemnation of gentrification.
Set in Bronx New York, young Miguel is desperately trying to save his beloved neighborhood bodega. He’s sidetracked though when a massive corporation known as Murnau Enterprises moves in and plans on turning the local businesses in to corporate run entities. To make matters worse, Miguel discovers that the corporation is being run by blood sucking vampires. Not only do they plan to take over the Bronx, but they’re also anxious to turn the residents in to snacks. Armed with his friends Bobby, and horror nerd Luis, they plan to stop the monsters before the Bronx is literally consumed.
“Vampires vs. The Bronx” is a great horror film and the exact kind of content I needed to see this year. Along with being considerably creepy, it’s also a great love letter to the Bronx. Director Rodriguez and writer Blaise Hemingway have an obvious love for the borough and spend a lot of time depicting it as a potential setting for a horror movie that’s also filled with a lot of life and charm. Hemingway also Rodriguez side steps a lot of racial stereotypes, depicting our trio of young heroes as noble, and relentless. They never flinch, even when faced again incredibly powerful vampires, and the bloodsuckers take little mercy on the boys when stalking them and hunting them down.
Director Rodriguez manages to bring together a very good cast, all of whom turn in charming performances (Zoe Saldana has a fun walk on appearance). From Method Man, Judy Marte, Kid Mero and Sarah Gadon, there’s a great supporting foundation that compliments the natural turns from the main cast of Jaden Michael, Gerald W. Jones III, and Gregory Diaz. Each actor manages to grab their own moment in the spotlight with engaging and complex heroes with their own individual journeys coming of age in the face of these frightening circumstances. “Vampires vs. The Bronx” is a fun, creepy, and exciting Halloween treat that completely side steps the hum drum Vampire narrative in favor something original and unique. I look forward to re-watching it as soon as possible.
Available for Streaming Exclusively on Netflix.