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The Main Message Of Vampires Vs The Bronx Might Not Be What You Think

For those of you on the hunt for a creep-tastic treat that'll tickle your funny bone and inspire a nightmare or two, there's a killer new genre cocktail brewing over at Netflix which more than fits the mold. It's called Vampires vs. the Bronx, and it just made its streaming debut on the platform of note. The flick one of the more queue-worthy offerings the streamer has released this year.

Set in the titular New York City borough, Vampires vs. the Bronx features a group of youngster desperately trying to save their beloved hood from being overrun by "white people with canvas bags," not to mention the pack of blood-thirsty vampires who're having a feeding frenzy on its inhabitants. Comprised of equal parts The Monster Squad (1987) and Attack the Block (2011) with a dash of '80s classic The Lost Boys (1987) to boot, Vampires vs. the Bronx is proving a beastly delight in its own right — one that also manages to sink its teeth into the bloody neck of an important social issue.

That last bit might surprise some, as the film is directed and co-written by Oz Rodriguez, who's best known for his work on several Funny or Die videos and a few seasons spent working behind-the-scenes on NBC's long-running sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live, but Vampires vs. the Bronx is actually Rodriguez's feature-film debut, and it seems only fitting that the flick was produced by his old SNL boss Lorne Michaels. 

With names like that attached, it isn't any wonder that Vampires vs. the Bronx is often a legit laugh riot. But the film more than holds its own as a horror flick, and even offers compelling insight to the ongoing gentrification of inner-city neighborhoods. Per Rodriguez himself, addressing that particular hot-button issue is the whole point of the movie.    

Gentrification is the real horror at the heart of Vampires vs. the Bronx

Per Rodriguez's recent video chat with NOW Magazine, culture-consuming gentrification is the real villain raining terror over Vampires vs. the Bronx, which makes his choice to represent that evil with exceedingly pale-skinned vamps all the more ingenious.

Rodriguez claims the film was born from a desire to craft "a fun adventure film for kids who look like me and my friends growing up in the Dominican Republic ... the kind of kids who aren't really represented in these kinds of stories."

With diversity becoming a key feature of Vampires vs. the Bronx on its way to the screen, Rodriguez states that the shifting cultural landscape of certain New York neighborhoods quickly became a central theme: "All the conversations were similar in how much the neighborhood's changing and how much the identity is being sucked out, and I just made the connection to vampires really quick."

As far as the film's Bronx setting, Rodriguez chose the borough because it represents "a huge immigrant community. There's so many different types of people there it almost feels like the last frontier as far as where gentrification will go next."

Jaden Michael (who stars as Miguel in the film) echoed Rodriguez's insights, noting in particular that Vampires vs. the Bronx isn't so much about the borough itself changing, but the people effected by those changes. "That was something that was really important to us. It wasn't a story about the Bronx. It was a story about people who go through gentrification. It doesn't have to be a black community. It doesn't have to be a Spanish community. It can be any community. And that's the main message."

Here's hoping people hear that message loud and clear as they feast on Vampires vs. the Bronx.