Netflix recently released two movies just in time for Halloween, Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween and Vampires vs. the Bronx. The latter is a delightful mix of comedy and horror. From director Oz Rodriguez, the horror-comedy is a genuinely cool kid-friendly horror movie with consistent chills and laughs.
Set in the Bronx, vampires are slowly taking over the neighborhood under the guise of real estate. Bloodsuckers are behind the gentrification of the Bronx. Vampires are threatening to take over the beloved home of a group of kids — Miguel (Luis Acosta), Miguel (Jaden Michael), Bobby (Gerald Jones III), Rita (Coco Jones), and others — fighting to protect it.
They’re a fun bunch of young characters, calling to mind The Goonies, Attack the Block, and The Lost Boys. Without the charisma of the young stars, Vampires vs. The Bronx would fall flat. Thankfully, they’re a lively bunch of heroes to root for, laugh with, and worry about. They’re surrounded by a stellar supporting cast, too, with the likes of Sarah Gadon, Chris Redd, Shea Whigham, and Method Man.
Everyone is a blast to watch in this movie, making for a very brisk and fun 90 minutes. It’s honestly a movie that could’ve run longer and benefited from more time, especially towards the end when the action and resolution are a bit too rushed for an otherwise tight and well-structured horror-comedy.
Vampires vs. the Bronx is a movie that moves, though, while hitting all the right notes of horror, suspense, and comedy. There’s no tonal whiplash here. The laughs and scares are equally satisfying, as are the character moments. Everyone gets their time to shine in this movie, even the smallest of supporting characters. It’s a bit of a hangout movie since all the Bronx residents are such a joy to watch.
The same goes for the villains, too. Shea Whigham is a fantastic actor that, even in the role of the vampire’s lackey, brings a lot of humanity to. He’s a bad guy, without question, both menacing and comical, but there’s a few instances where the character gets to be more than the bad guy. Vampires vs. the Bronx is a movie with archetypes, but elevates them by digging a little deeper and having fun but substantial character beats. Gadon, too, continues to spellbind in a variety of roles. We can’t say too much about her role in Vampires vs. the Bronx, but the actress continues to know how to pick’m when it comes to quality roles and movies. She’s a thrill to watch at work.
Most of the Netflix movie calls to mind a bunch of classic horror-comedies, but Rodriguez makes it all feel fresh and exciting. It’s familiar but still exciting. The writer-director even pays homage to classic titles, such as Blade and Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot,” that clearly influenced his original story. Saturday Night Live creator, Lorne Michaels, actually produced the movie, and it shows. There’s a lot of laughs in Vampires vs. the Bronx. Not only laughs, but smart laughs.
The PG-13 movie is a very clever comedy. It’s not pandering humor for kids, but sharp for both kids and adults. The movie works for a variety of age groups and audiences. It’s just a simple, well-told crowd-pleaser that probably would’ve energized audiences in a movie theater. Netflix’s latest horror-comedy is one to watch this Halloween season. It has the laughs and scares we’re craving at the moment. Rushed ending aside, where the action leaves a lot to be desired, Vampires vs. the Bronx is a smart horror-comedy that livens up familiar genre tropes.