A group of kids in a small town uniting to obliterate an evil penetrating their home has often captured the audience’s attention, as was the case with “Stranger Things” and “IT.” An unknown entity behind spontaneous disappearances makes the audience crave more details to uncover the hidden truths of an isolated town. However, Netflix’s “Vampires vs. the Bronx” is quite the opposite. Despite the humor and music utilized in the film, it possesses a feeble plot that makes it monotonous.
“Vampires vs. the Bronx” showcases multiple disappearances and stores being closed down by a concealed agency. In an attempt to save their local bodega, three friends, Miguel Martinez (Jaeden Michael), Bobby Carter (Gerald W. Jones III) and Luis Acosta (Gregory Diaz IV) try to throw a block party. However, things take a turn for the worse when they uncover a herd of vampires and embark on a quest to defeat them from dominating their city.
The plot becomes disinteresting as the film rushes through the storyline. In the beginning, the plan to defeat the vampires arises impulsively in the midst of preparing for the block party. The film doesn’t get much better by the end, as the anticlimactic ending is very abrupt as the vampires are defeated in a brief time span and seem to not even put up a strong fight. Winning against the vampires seems all too easy. The rapid pacing prevalent throughout the film forsakes the excitement of following along with the characters’ journey to triumph over the vampires. There is very little suspense, as the unfolding events are quite predictable, such as impending deaths and actions the characters will take. Moreover, the vampires received very little screen time, so the audience doesn’t quite meet the antagonists in the storyline.
In terms of themes, “Vampires vs. the Bronx” fails to develop the indestructible bond of friendship between the characters. Miguel, Bobby and Luis begin to grow apart, and there is a weak attempt to consolidate their friendship. The story solely focuses on them standing victorious against the vampires, thus abandoning a crucial aspect within this subgenre — strengthening the relationships between the characters. For example, there is a falling out between Miguel and Bobby but little to no attempt at understanding and mending their relationship as they rush to defeat the vampires. The theme of unity among the Bronx is extempore and very brief towards the end when they suddenly believe that vampires are real. Unification among the people in the Bronx isn’t shown throughout the film and is spontaneous towards the end, which even worsens the rapid plot. In an attempt to quickly force the vampires out of the Bronx, the storyline sacrifices the progression of its themes. The film also lacks its own creative aspects, hence it isn’t unique from other films. Unlike major vampire themed hits such as “Twilight,” “Vampires vs. the Bronx” doesn’t provide unique characteristics to its vampires. Instead, it utilizes solutions from folklore, such as wooden stakes and garlic, to defeat them. The film tends to lose the audience with its simplicity.
The acting in the film was well executed by the three friends: Bobby displays a fed up and careless attitude towards those around him, Luis captures a smart and dorky character through being the brains of the operation and Miguel is frightened, yet determined in defeating the vampires once and for all. However, the acting performed by each of their mothers is over the top in certain scenes, such as when they incessantly yell at their children for getting into trouble, yet show little concern during situations involving life and death. The mild humor in the film aligns with its silly ambiance yet is fragmented when all the characters fail to deliver a good performance.
The soundtrack suits the lighthearted aura of the film and performs well in displaying the diversity in the Bronx, making the audience feel as though they are in the city. It ranges from pop and Spanish music to eerie and rapid paced tones, which create a balance between humor and the evil lurking in the city’s shadows. The cinematography wasn’t marvelous, but it worked well in unifying the film with saturated red lighting that stirred peril and pops of color in the city, thus curating the slightly scary, silly film. The fragmented bodega and small houses worked to display life in the Bronx. However, the lighting and music fail to fill the void of disinterest stemming from the rapid plot.
“Vampires vs. the Bronx” embodies a meager plot with several gaps, as it fails to develop its themes of friendship and unity. Despite traces of humor and a good soundtrack, the rushed storyline purloins the audience from being immersed in a battle between the vampires and the city. There is a lack of originality, which makes the film predictable and dull, that even the lighting and scenery is unable to fix. With an imbalance in acting and hasty plot that abandons themes, “Vampires vs. the Bronx” is an unassuming watch.
Verdict: “Vampires vs. the Bronx” is not worth the time to watch. Sure, it has humor and great music, but the unorganized plot and undeveloped themes make it more of a lame comedy and ultimately, difficult to sit through.