'Vampires Vs The Bronx' Review: Real-estate agents turn into bloodthirsty vampires in this delightful horror film
Horror seems to have more of a social message these days, rather than just vampires, ghouls and monsters giving jump scares, or a ghost possessing an unwitting human. 'Get Out' raised questions of race and slavery, while 'Us' touches upon the duality of human nature as well as addressing America's manner of burying its past. And now with the latest Netflix comedy-ish horror 'Vampires Vs The Bronx', filmmaker Osmany Rodriguez decides to make real-estate agents into vampires, as they bring down and try to redesign small businesses. The white-savior complex is at large here and it's up to a gang of teenagers to put an end to their simpering falsehoods, as they are as devious as can be.
We meet our lead protagonist, Miguel (Jaden Michael), who is affectionately called the 'Lil Mayor' of the Bronx. He helps out people in need by conducting fundraisers and is an aspiring entrepreneur. At the start of the film, he has one mission: To support a local bodega that is being edged out of business. It's run by his close friend Tony (Joel Martinez). However, things begin to go awry, as Miguel witnesses the death of a small-time businessman at the hands of a vampire. The vampire makes one promise: To get rid of them all.
Unfortunately, there's no one who can support Miguel's story, because the bodies cannot be found after the vampires are done with them. With the help of his friends, Miguel realizes that Frank Polidori (Shea Whigham) has been replacing the simple stores with jazzy cafes. And soon, Tony's bodega, will become another such glitzy establishment, if it doesn't receive enough funding. Before he can wrap his head around the reality of the situation, Miguel and his friends find themselves face-to-face with Polidori's squad of blood-sucking vampires. It's a fight to the death, as the teenagers decide to put an end to the madness that is beginning to reign supreme in their town.
The symbolism in the film is hard to miss: Vampires preying on the underprivileged, the disappearances of the local people, and nobody bothering to follow it up, and the slow seeping in of outsiders who are planning the erasure of a homeland -- all in the land of the vibrant Bronx. Each of the characters, supporting, main and guest bring an unusual flavour to the film, be it Zoe Saldana as a manicurist, or Method Man as the priest, who's ready to put up the good fight when he can. There are stereotypes, but only so that you can poke fun at them, the most prominent being Sarah Gadon as the cute little white lady, who could just be pure evil when she wants. The kids revel in their roles and act out their parts with much gusto, as they dodge vampires as well as their own mothers.
'Vampires Vs The Bronx' is delightfully unusual with its sensitive themes and makes for an enjoyable watch. The comedy isn't over-the-top and is quite subtle too. It deserves a watch. The film is streaming on Netflix.