The horror comedy Vampires vs. the Bronx isn't nearly as wild and over-the-top as it could have been. It plays it safe much too often, yet it is diverting entertainment with the added bonus of social commentary.
A mysterious real estate company is buying up property after property in a Bronx ghetto. Teenage Miguel (Jaden Michael) enlists his two friends, Bobby and Luis (Gerald W. Jones III and Gregory Diaz IV respectively), to help him uncover what is behind this ominous gentrification of their neighborhood. It turns out that it is vampires looking for a nest. These fiends figure that they can wipe out this lower-class part of town without anyone noticing. Miguel must then convince family and friends of what is really happening, and that they need to fight back against these blood-suckers that want to take over the neighborhood.
Vampires vs. the Bronx has lots of fun in-jokes involving vampire movies. The kids watch the movie Blade (1998) to figure out the rules of vampires, and the name of the real estate company is Murnau Properties, which is a nod to F.W. Murnau, the director of the silent horror classic Nosferatu (1922). There are also very funny lines in Bronx, like when the skinny and bespectacled Luis is referred to as "Puerto Rican Harry Potter."
The dullest part of the movie is the vampires themselves.
They growl like lions and all have that evil pronounced brow and sunken eyes.
You know, the same generic vampires we've seen in movies and television for the
past 35 years or so. It's a good thing, though, that the film's heroes are
engaging and funny.
Vampires vs. the Bronx is now streaming on Netflix.
** ½ Stars (Out of Four)