Tuesday Review – Vampires vs the Bronx (2020)

films, reviews

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I miss going out to the cinema. The news that Cineworld would be closing due to Covid has made me realise just how long it been since I was las sat in a cinema. I obviously hope that cinemas will survive but it seems clear that, post-Coronavirus, the way people watch films is going to change. I’d love to be able to go out and support my local cinema but I just don’t want to take the risk. I’m not officially shielding but as a “high risk” individual in a virus hotspot, it really doesn’t seem worth the risk to sit in a room full of strangers for a few hours. No matter how good Tenet might be. And it’s not fair to place the survival of a whole industry on individuals anyway. But I digress. For the time being, there are plenty of films being released on Netflix at the moment to keep me occupied. It won’t ever be the same but it’s something.

Of those films, I really want to watch The Boys in the Band because it looks sensational. It’s got a great cast and looks super tense. However, I had a lot to this weekend and I didn’t feel as though I would have given it my full attention. So, I was planning on watching Enola Holmes even though all of my instincts are telling me that I’ll hate it. Luckily, I saw this baby first. Not only does the title have that great Snakes on a Plane vibe but it also gave me the excuse to watch The Lost Boys for my TBT review. And I really fancy watching Kiefer Sutherland playing a bleached vampire this week.

After all Vampires vs. the Bronx has the feel of The Lost Boys with a hint of Stranger Things. Namely, it’s a bunch of young kids who have to save their home from vampires. Vampires who are invading the Bronx in the name of gentrification. A group of tweens are desperately to save their local bodega in the wake of several business being bought out by the Murnau real estate. Their leader Miguel, know as Lil’ Mayor, uncovers Murnau’s real agenda when handing out flyers for his fundraiser. From that point on, he and his friends are running from a group of vampires on the hunt. Can they save their community from evil and avoid being grounded?

This is a film that goes further than its title suggests. It’s clever and has a hint of Get Out about it. This isn’t your average stupid horror story. This is a stupid horror story with a message. It plays off the genuine problem with black neighbourhoods being wiped out and exaggerates it. It also raises points about the current problem with race. Why are vampires looking to take over the Bronx? It’s simple. They’re looking for a place where people can disappear without anyone caring. There are moments when this social commentary distracts from the narrative but it’s great to have a bit of depth in this kind of film.

At its heart, Vampires vs. the Bronx is just a fun film. It’s got plenty of references to vampire lore and pop culture. This book geek found a great deal of joy in the character Frank Polidori. Then there the numerous references to Blade as the kids learn more about their enemy. This is a vampire film that loves vampire movies. It’s silly and it just enjoys letting loose. This is the kind of film that anyone would be more than happy to watch. The three boys at its heart are a ragtag bunch that you’ll throw your whole support behind.

The only problem is this film is just too short for all of the things it’s trying to do. It comes in at under 90 minutes, which means the main narrative is fighting for attention from the subplots. It also ensure that many of the supporting characters are given short shrift. I know this is an unlikely thing for me to say about a Netflix original but it could have done with being a bit longer.

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