It feels like ages since I watched any vampire films, so this trio was a treat. They were all pretty lighthearted and enjoyable for the most part, so let’s get into them.
A VAMPIRE IN THE FAMILY (2023)
Harkening back to all the My (Human Relation) is a (Monster) movies from the 80s, this dubbed Brazilian horror comedy has the distinction of featuring a bearish daddy as the family member that begins to suspect his relative is a vampire.
Due to the dubbing, the dialogue delivery feels a little hokey, but it still works based on the type of movie this is. And there are moments that made me laugh out loud.
The main man invites his brother-in-law into his house, and pretty soon he begins to see classic signs that his in-law is cursed with vampirism. He then has to convince his family that they need to go vampire hunting.
The guy playing the vampire is a hottie and gets a tight bathing suit scene, and he’s not the only vampire, so vamp clan action ramps up as the movie progresses. And best of all, the final battle comes during a Halloween party, complete with a little dance montage.
The vampire makeup is cool and perhaps a little scary for kids, but the movie definitely has a PG-13 vibe in general, with no nudity and not much in the way of cursing. And it wouldn’t be this type of movie without an animated sequence during the credits.
Count Dracula himself makes an appearance, and he has some awesome henchman modeled after the original Nosferatu/Salem’s Lot vampire design. Plus the final act totally rocks, with a cool final boss. Plus, there’s an opening for a sequel , and I’m totally there for it.
THE VAMPIRE NEXT DOOR (2024)
This light vampire teen dramedy is like Fright Night meets Let The Right One In. I was so pumped when it began—our geeky leading man is cute and likable, the hot girl he’s loved all through school is likable, and the seductive vampiress that moves in next door gives off a Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body vibe.
The vampire was the last thing our main guy needed. He’s still harassed by his high school bully, his dad is pressuring him to do something with his life, he hates his job, and he’s trying to hatch a plan to win the girl he loves by using his best friend for a mind game.
But once the vampire makes her presence known to him, it isn’t long before she makes him her driver, chauffeuring him around so she can claim victims on her hit list.
If only the film was shorter. It runs 110 minutes long, and while the frequent conversations help us connect with the characters, the sexy teen horror comedy feel is never fully realized.
There are just minor moments of vamp action and sexy action, so the film falls a bit flat, offering only hints of the kinds of 80s teen movies it’s emulating. Even the inevitable final battle is very low energy. Bummer.
VAMPIRE CLEANUP DEPARTMENT (2017)
It’s always fascinating how a certain subgenre of Asian horror can be gory with gnarly monsters yet also romantic and cutesy, which is exactly what Vampire Cleanup Department is. It kind of reminded me a little of Cemetery Man if it was a morbid teen romance rather than a sleazy, macabre, adult sex romp.
A young man gets bit by a vampire but is not affected, which makes his uncle realize he’d be perfect for a secret, family-run vampire hunting service.
On his first hunt, the young man has a freaky encounter in a lake. I don’t know exactly why the corpse in the water returns to its normal, cute young girl form—was it the cellphone she accidentally eats or a lip-lock with the main boy? Either way, she becomes mostly human again, just without the ability to speak.
So begins a slow bonding between the young man and the revived corpse, complete with whimsical music and humor. Does it get a little too sappy after a while? Yes.
However, hanging like a dark cloud over the romanticizing is the coming of an intense boss vampire that terrorizes the town and eventually does battle with the vampire cleanup team.
I’d say the final act saves the film from being nothing more than a cheesy tween vampire romance.