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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Review: Vampires vs The Bronx

Director: Osmany Rodriguez

Screenplay: Osmany Rodriguez

Year: 2020

While Miguel handles flyers for a fundraiser, he notices that a group of developers has acquired several properties in his community. Convinced that this group isn’t working for the community’s best interests, Migues, together with his friends Luis and Bobby, look into the group’s operations. They don’t only discover their plans for displacing people from the community but also find that they are vampires.

As its name suggests, “Vampires vs The Bronx” is based on the Bronx area in New York City. This zone is known for being one of the poorer of the city and for the large population of citizens with Latin American or African American roots. In these communities is where the Dominican director Osmany Rodriguez focuses, whose resume highlights being responsible for creating “Saturday Night Live”.

“Vampires vs The Bronx” is a horror-comedy intended for a teen audience, where the trio of Miguel (Jaden Michael; “The Get Down”), Luis (Gregory Diaz IV; “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), and Bobby (Gerald Jones III; “FBI”), a Dominican, a Puerto Rican, and an African American, respectively, find out that a group of vampires have gotten into their community and want to eliminate them. While the younger audience focuses on the protagonists’ adventure, Rodriguez presents topics directed to a more mature audience. The director embraces the different cultures that live in this area of New York City and sets forth other social issues, such as poverty, lack of opportunities, and bad influences, and how people with power can use this in their favor.

The clearer social problem topic in this movie is that of gentrification. For this, vampires are used as a symbolic figure to represent the wealthy white developers and investors, that in this case, buy properties in the Bronx and slowly start displacing the people from the area. He goes more in-depth on this topic, tackling how these communities are invisible for the rest of the population and how people disappearing from their communities doesn’t have much public attention or justice.

Being directed to a teen audience, “Vampires vs The Bronx” leans towards an adventure and comedy style with minimal horror. The viewer who comes expecting blood or frightening vampires will leave disappointed, as this is never the movie’s focus. Actually, one of the problems of the movie is that the vampires never feel like an actual threat, not even for a trio of kids.

 “Vampires vs The Bronx” is an adventure and comedy movie for teens and doesn’t hold many relationships with the horror genre, besides presenting some vampires. Although it is oriented to teens, it gives some adult topics of current relevance, mainly for low-income communities. Those horror fans expecting a bloody or violent movie will be disappointed, as “Vampires vs The Bronx” is more of a family and social commentary movie that uses vampires as a metaphor for describing developers and investors who use gentrification to sideline communities as their business blossoms, and little more.

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