I don’t usually give Netflix too much credit for their originals, and I was prepared to be either let down or feel too old for one of their latest Hallowe’en offerings, Vampires vs. The Bronx. With that cheesy title, the worst I was expecting was some offensive Leprechaun in the Hood-type cringe. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. This movie is freaking adorable.
The story concerns Miguel ‘Li’l Mayor’ (Jaden Michael), who is trying to save his local bodega from being The Bronx’s latest victim of gentrification – all of which seems to be spearheaded by one company, Murnau [a nice nod to Nosferatu director F. W. Murnau], whose company logo looks suspiciously like Vlad the Impaler. But when residents start going missing, Li’l Mayor and his friends must fight to save their neighbourhood from what they catch on pretty quick to be vampires. So it’s a shame that nobody, not least the local priest (Method Man) believes them.
This genuinely was a fun watch – well-paced, with equal doses of wry and warm humour, and characters you actually care about. It is a hybrid of a lot of styles before it – think The Lost Boys mixed with The ‘Burbs mixed with Fright Night and a healthy (and much-needed) dose of Attack the Block-style contemporary social commentary, but still packaged with a comforting, nostalgic feel. Its decent scares are light on violence with zero gore, given its target audience (I’d say it could be a family film for older kids), and the kids’ acting is naturally a bit uneven in places, but it’s a brisk 80 minutes that’s perfect for a Halloween movie night.