‘Vampires vs. the Bronx’ has enough charm and heart to be worth a watch

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The old-fashioned made-for-TV movie is alive and well in Netflix’s charmingly amateur “Vampires vs. the Bronx.” Or should that be “undead and well”?

A lot of new movies during the pandemic have been former feature films that were supposed to be on the big screen, but instead got dropped down to streaming. “Vampires vs. The Bronx” was always going to come out on Netflix and it shows. The movie lacks the magic of a true Hollywood release and is a bit rough around the edges, but it has enough charm and heart to be worth a watch — especially if you’re looking for a new spooky film for the Halloween season.

There’s nothing wrong with a slapdash film and “Vampires vs. the Bronx” gives it the old college try.

When a mysterious new developer starts buying up properties in a tight knit Bronx community, youngster Miguel Martinez and his friends discover it’s all a front for a coven of vampires. The kids must then rally their skeptical neighbors and arm themselves with classic vampire-fighting gear in order to save their home, especially their favorite bodega.

Back in 2011, a British film called “Attack the Block” came out about a group of inner city kids defending their apartment complex from an alien invasion in London. It’s a great movie and you should watch if you ever get the chance. “Vampires vs. the Bronx” feels like somebody saw “Attack the Block” and wanted to make their own version, but they did not have the budget or the movie-making skills of the people behind the 2011 film.

This is not a knock on the filmmakers behind “Vampires vs. the Bronx”. I am sure they are all very talented people, and they have made a pretty good movie. It’s more than I’ve ever done. But “Vampires vs. the Bronx” feels homemade. From the script to the pacing to the acting to pretty much everything else, this movie feels quaint.

“Vampires vs. the Bronx” feels like the sort of cheap, not-quite-professional movie that gave “made-for-TV” movies their reputation in the first place. Don’t expect the quality of a big budget film.

But if you’re not a stickler for quality, then there’s a lot to enjoy about “Vampires”. The young actors do a good enough job as the film’s heroes, each with their own little storylines to pursue. The vampire effects are a nice balance of scary and silly, though the movie never treats them like a joke. And there’s a very real sense of community. It is easy to appreciate the camaraderie of this Bronx neighborhood, and that is a major selling point for a movie called “Vampires vs. the Bronx”.

The Halloween season is upon us and we do not have traditional big screen horror films to watch this year. Netflix is so far offering the low budget “Vampires vs. the Bronx” and it’s not half bad.

For further discussion of the film check out the Sentinel Cinema podcast at www.RomeSentinel.com.

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