REVIEW: ‘Vampires Vs The Bronx’ is Opening the Door For New Vampire Fans

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Vampires Vs The Bronx

Vampires but make them gentrifiers. That’s the premise of Vampires Vs The Bronx and it hits hard with humor, wonder, and one of the strongest presentations of Latinidad available on Netflix right now. In the film, written and directed by Osmany Rodriguez, a group of young friends, Miguel, Luis, and Bobby, from the Bronx fight to save their neighborhood from a band of vampires. Vampires Vs The Bronx stars Jaden MichaelGregory Diaz IV, Gerald Jones III, Coco Jones, Method Man, and The Kid Mero.

First and foremost, Vampires Vs The Bronx is a vampire movie. No, not just because it has vampires, but because it embraces the vampire films that came before it – most notably Blade. There are many moments that pay homage to the past and situates the film’s young characters inside a long tradition of vampire hunting. From the prosthetics used for the vampires that invoke Lost Boys to the boys’ admiration of Wesley Snipes’ Blade there is a lot for fans of vampires to love. And yet, the film also distinguishes itself from them all.

While Vampires Vs The Bronx is a film about friendship, nerdy kids loving nerdy things, and Latinidad, it also offers a critique of how affluent white investors and individuals are moving into communities of colors and changing them beyond recognition. While the topic of gentrification is at the forefront of everyone in the neighborhood’s minds, so is the topic of Black and brown community members going missing. Did they sell their apartments? Their businesses? And just take off? Or are the vampires preying on the fact that when it comes to finding missing persons, Black and brown victims go unnoticed by authorities? You can guess the answer.

Vampires Vs The Bronx



All of that being said, Vampires Vs The Bronx thrives as a film because of how Rodriguez has worked Latinidad into the very core of the narrative. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Latinidad is a word that is used to explain the experience and culture of Latinx communities without reducing it to one single aspect. The kids handle the undead with what they have at their disposal, informed by their culture. As they prepare to take on the vamps, we see the classic montage of the group assembling their weapons. Garlic, crucifixes, and holy water are standard in the film’s vampire lore. And as the gather their resources, I realized for the first time how equipped a Latinx household is to face on blood-sucking gentrifiers if it should ever come to it. While one of the kids grabs whole garlic, he also takes his tia’s garlic adobo and as they all gather crucifixes there is no shortage around any of their respective houses. This is a small moment, but one that winks at the brown folks watching and lets them know they’re seen.

Beyond that, the film’s humor is not only fitting for the Bronx, but for the jokes we make with each other. The best example is how the bodega owner and father-figure honors Sammy Sosa’s baseball bat. He waxes poetic about Sosa’s illustrious career and then quickly explains to the kids that this was well before he turned pink and looked like “Count Chocula.” In truth, these small moments sprinkled throughout the Vampires Vs The Bronx makes the film sing and ultimately makes this fantasy horror comedy feel like a lived experience.

The film is propelled by the young actors and the fact that Rodriguez allows them to be children. Not only that, there isn’t a single adult who treats them like they aren’t. They are boys, first and foremost, friends second, and vampire hunters third. The trio of actors bring energy and an authentic familial bond to each other that works in every scene.

Overall, there isn’t anything like Vampires Vs The Bronx out right now. It is a film that embraces camp, fun, and the cultural experiences of its actors. As a directorial debut, this is a strong one form Osmany Rodriguez and one that is sure to induct a whole new generation of fans to the vampire horror fandom.

Vampires Vs The Bronx is streaming exclusively on Netflix now.


Vampires Vs The Bronx
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

Overall, there isn’t anything like Vampires Vs The Bronx out right now. It is a film that embraces camp, fun, and the cultural experiences of its actors. As a directorial debut, this is a strong one form Osmany Rodriguez and one that is sure to induct a whole new generation of fans to the vampire horror fandom.