The Big Apple bites back in Vampires vs The Bronx (2020)
Vampires have tackled New York before, of course. George Hamilton’s Dracula tried to take Manhattan in 1979 while Eddie Murphy’s Maximilian sank his teeth (and very nearly his career) into Brooklyn in 1995 but since then, thinks have been quiet in the five boroughs…until now that is.
When a shady real estate developer Murnau Enterprises starts buying up homes and business in the Bronx, the neighbourhood rallies to fight against the threat of gentrification. The only problem is the gentry they are fighting against have a long and ancient history. You might even say they’re a bit long in the tooth.
I’ve a lot of love for horror movies that don’t take themselves too seriously, especially as the genre itself is undergoing something of a gentrification process itself as so-called elevated horrors move in to the neighbourhood and all the bodegas and local stores are turned into McBlumhouses. “Vampires vs The Bronx” with its simple ‘X vs Y’ promise has mischief on its mind. It’s out to deliver some sass, some scares and a whole lot of fun. Blending elements of “Monster Squad” and “The Lost Boys”, there’s not much that’s not derivative about this kid-led and (older) kid friendly monster mash-up but what it lacks in innovation it makes up for in execution and a few smart ideas of its own.
The performances are solid, the plot engaging and the effects are just right for this kind of movie. We’re in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”/ “Blade” territory here in terms of dusting the vamps (so not much blood or gore) and “Stranger Things” or “Attack The Block” in terms of tone, so retro, uncynical fun. You couldn’t really ask for much more in terms of happy Halloween entertainment with a side order of sly social commentary.