Vampires vs. the Bronx 🌆
You know those feel-good movies from the '80s about boys riding around on their bikes and going on adventures with their friends? Well, Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020) is a successor to those movies. It has all the trappings of that type of flick, but updated for today. In this one, Miguel Martinez (Jaden Michael) and his buddies discover that vampires are taking over their borough (the Bronx) and so they have to put a stop to it. Writer/director Oz Rodriguez is essentially using the allure of vampires to talk about gentrification.
It's not a thorough take down on the predatory real-estate business, but it's adequate enough to enlighten its target audience of teenagers, while providing a good night's entertainment. The comedy is nothing spectacular, but it's serviceable. The plot and its characters are familiar, but fresh enough to avoid pandering to nostalgia. This is largely due to that fact that it doesn't whitewash its setting. It's a joy to see a film so comfortable with its full cast of color.
*** spoilers ahead ***
When Sarah Gadon's character (Vivian) showed up as the new woman in town, I feared she was a red-herring meant to represent a good gentrifier. I'm glad she turned out to be the main villain afterall, not because all white people suck, but because we've had enough white saviors and positive representations of white people to last centuries. This is a film about a working-class community banding together to protect their neighborhood from threatening forces, and they succeed. It's wish fulfillment for a dire real-world situation, and it feels good to watch on screen.
Vampire vs. the Bronx could've gone further still if it had worked harder to challenge more of its movie tropes. The whole 'gangster drug dealer' subplot needed some fleshing out to be more than the small after-school lesson. And yet again it's tiring to see a sole girl join the crew of teen boys near the end. Thankfully, the film avoided the romantic kiss at the climax.
This has been day 29 of 31 days of horror.