Gentrification is the real horror in “Vampires vs. the Bronx”
A group of teenagers uncover a secret vampire organization planning to take over their neighborhood.
As October is coming to a close with Halloween just around the corner, it seems as though our world is becoming scarier and scarier as 2020 comes to an end. This also means that horror movies are now being streamed more than ever. However, most horror movies are filled with cheap scares, minimal focus on a message and a lack of substance.
Directed by Osmany Rodriguez “Vampires vs. the Bronx” is a comedy horror that takes place in the heart of the Bronx. It’s a film about the necessity of community togetherness in order to get through even the toughest of times.
The movie’s exposition shows the Bronx currently going through major changes surrounding both the properties in the area along with their inhabitants. Stores and homes are being bought out left and right. Meanwhile, Miguel Martinez, or “Lil Mayor,” — played by Jaden Michael — is trying to get everyone in the neighborhood to attend his block party in order to raise enough money to save the remaining businesses.
After returning home one night Miguel witnesses a terrifying vampire sucking the life out of a poor gang member. Following the event he tells his friends to which they later discover that the real estate company, cleverly named “Murnau Properties,” is a secret vampire organization planning to wipe out the entire neighborhood by buying stores and killing their owners.
The film is an allegory for gentrification, how it harms communities and pushes residents and business owners out. I feel as though the way the movie portrays this idea through its plot by utilizing villainous white vampires is clever and thought-provoking.
The script itself is very funny. Joel Martinez, also known as The Kid Mero, had a wonderful performance playing the owner of the neighborhood’s bodega, Tony. The rest of the main characters are played by a POC cast, which is great for positive representation. Each actor also brings something different and diverse that adds to their role as well.
Vampires have to be up there on the list of the most non-scary horror creatures. The movie makes an impressive attempt to create frightening portrayals by giving the vampires disturbing half human half bat makeup. There is always something disturbing and uncanny about Chimeras and the movie captures this feeling well.
The way the film is set up also gave off a feeling similar to Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” If you’re a fan of “Stranger Things” and want something similar, then this would definitely be up your alley. However, I went in expecting something even more unique and I loved the idea of white people as vampires “gentrifying” a neighborhood and the horrors that come from it.
This results in a rather predictable plot. It also lessens the effect of the vampires as villains since they have so much going against them. They stay true to vampire lore, meaning the characters are able to arm themselves to the teeth with garlic, holy water and wooden stakes.
Overall, this movie is a really good time. It’s humorous while presenting a good clear-cut message that brings a diverse narrative to today’s often one-sided landscape. However, if you’re looking for a serious horror movie with twists and turns, then perhaps you should skip this one. If you’re looking for a comedic horror movie with a diverse cast and crew, then I would highly recommend this movie.
“Vampires vs. the Bronx” is currently streaming on Netflix.
Title: Vampires vs. the Bronx
Star Rating: Four Stars out of Five
- Strong positive message
- Diverse cast and characters
- Script is funny and feels real
- Predictable plot
- Not actually scary for a horror movie
- Similar to what we’ve seen on Netflix