October is a big month for horror movies. Normally, movie theaters would release the newest scary films around this time, yet with the pandemic, this hasn’t been the case. Fortunately, streaming services are here to fill the void. Netflix’s Vampires vs. The Bronx does just that.
A movie ostensibly about an infestation of blood-sucking demons, Vampires vs. the Bronx is also about another horror, one that has become all too familiar today: gentrification. The film starts with three youngsters Miguel, Bobby, and Luis (Jaden Michael, Gerald Jones III, and Gregory Diaz IV) lamenting over the changes in their Bronx community. Local stores are being overtaken by ridiculous shops, thanks to real estate company Murnau Properties (a clever nod to Nosferatu director F.W. Murnau). The neighborhood Luis, Bobby, and Miguel grew up in is changing.
Miguel won’t go down without a fight, however. He is planning a block party to “Save the Bodega,” a local shop owned by longtime friend Tony (The Kid Mero, one of the Bodega Boys himself, basically playing the most Dominican person alive). From here, Miguel, Bobby, and Luis investigate the mysterious Murnau Properties. They meet real estate tycoon Frank Polidori (Shea Whigham), who is later revealed to be in cahoots with the vampires invading the borough. (The name Polidori is another nod to vampirism, albeit an incredibly nerdy one. John William Polidori is often credited for creating the genre of vampire fiction with his 1819 work The Vampyre). The three young leads are put to the test throughout the film, and it makes for one hell of a ride.
The film combines the mythology of vampirism with modern-day culture to great effect. Yes, the leads use crucifixes, wooden stakes, and holy water. A particularly blasphemous scene features Miguel and Luis STEALING holy water during a church service, led by Father Jackson (Method Man, or Method Man of God, if you’re nasty) to defend themselves. But they also use garlic adobo, A TIMBERLAND BOOT, the Wesley Snipes film Blade and a bat used by Dominican hero Sammy Sosa to help them, too. The film not only is an effective horror comedy; it also details the power of united communities, as the three eventually unite the whole community to rid themselves of the bloodsuckers. As the charismatic Gloria (Imani Lewis) says at the end of the film, “you don’t want no smoke with the BX.” And you certainly don’t want to miss this charismatic, engaging flick either.