Horror Comedies, when done right, can be an absolute joy. However, done wrong, they can be a real pain in the neck. (See what I did there?)
Director: Osmany Rodriguez
Screenwriter: Osmany Rodriguez, Blaise Hemingway
Starring: Jaden Michael, Gerald Jones III, Gregory Diaz IV
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Runtime: 85 Minutes
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by: Pearl
Saddened by the Gentrification of his local Neighbourhood and the subsequent potential closure of his favourite Bodega, Lil’ Mayor and his two best friends arrange a block party to help raise money to keep the bodega open. But as more of the local properties are bought up by Murnau Enterprises and the boys start to do a little investigating, they discover the company is owed by a group of vampires determined to take over the Bronx and eradicate it’s human population.
A great film to kick of spooky season, this is a vampire movie with its heart in the right place and that discusses a surprising amount of important issues. If you ignore the vampire storyline for just a second, it talks about Gentrification of impoverished areas, gang culture, the policing of ethnic minorities, crime in low income areas and a whole bunch more. Without the introduction of the vampire element, this film would have had a whole different kind of tone. But they went for a horror/comedy in an attempt to keep things at least a little light.
I liked the comedy aspect, and it kind of works perfectly with the campness of the vampires in this film. They had a very Buffy look and feel to them, so making the film to scary or serious would have been the wrong choice. Instead sticking with a more teen/family friendly kind of level makes this film more watchable and less like a million low budget horror films that I have seen in my life.
Yes, it does have a very amateur feel to it, with some glaringly obvious errors. For example, when Lil’ Mayor hands his business card over to the receptionist you can see in the long shot the card is just plain with black writing on it. When the shot zooms in to the card it is decorated with his signature art style. Then back to plain again when the shot zooms back out. But do not let the amateur nature of the film put you off, this is a great film option for families with older kids.
The main cast of kids do a great job and carry the story nearly all by themselves. They are a young and mostly unknown cast, so they may not have their acting chops quite down yet, but they are still a total delight to watch. And a minute-long cameo from Zoe Saldana doesn’t hurt either.
There is no big take away from this one, you will forget it nearly as quick as you watch it. Vampires were all the rage a few years ago, but are a bit old hat by now, and this film adds nothing new to the genre. But if you want something you can watch with your kids for a couple hours this Halloween, this could be a great pick!
Vampires vs The Bronx is streaming on Netflix now!