by Charles Kirkland, Jr.
A trio of boys finds out that gentrification is nothing when you compared to facing vampires taking over your neighborhood in Vampires Vs. The Bronx.
Miguel (Jaden Michael), who everybody in The Bronx knows as Lil’ Mayor, is on a mission to save the local bodega from acquisition by the Morneau Company, a real estate agency that has been buying large numbers of Bronx businesses by having a block party to raise some money and the community awareness. When his friend Luis (Gregory Diaz IV) returns to the neighborhood from Tampa both he and the third musketeer Bobby (Gerald Jones III) are ready to party. But when the trio stumbles upon the people behind Morneau, they realize they are going to have to save the neighborhood…from vampires.
Vampires Vs. The Bronx is written and directed by Osmany Rodriguez who cut his teeth as a sketch director on Saturday Night Live and The Last Man on Earth. It stars Michael, Jones, and Diaz with Sarah Gadon, Clifford “Method Man” Smith, Shea Whigham, Coco Jones, Kid Mero Chris Redd, and Zoe Saldana. The fact that Rodriguez is a Saturday Night Live alum and that Lorne Michaels is a producer of the film tells you almost everything you need to know.
This movie is another intersection of comedy and horror, with comedy being the four-lane highway being crossed by the two-lane street of horror. Rodriguez creates an adventurous, comedic horror film that is Goonies-level serious and cutely entertaining. He cuts all corners, keeping the film quickly paced and straightforward without slowing down with deep explanation or backstory.
The horror genre itself lacks originality most times so when this movie borrows from the Scream franchise with its opening scene and Shaun of the Dead and The Goonies et cetera, it is noticeably unfresh but it is very familiar. Familiarity is not all that bad when making a comedy horror film. In fact, in some parts of the movie, familiarity creates a “meta-ness” that makes movies like The Cabin in the Woods classic. Not to say that this film is a classic but it is enjoyable.
Vampires vs. The Bronx is rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some suggestive references. Thankfully, it is light on the horror which allows it to be a family-friendly movie, almost perfect for a pandemic Halloween without trick-or-treating.