It started out as a double my fun feature night with these two films, but was either of them a disappointment? Let’s find out.
VAMPIRES VS. THE BRONX (2020)
A playful comedy about life in the ghetto in general, it’s also a commentary on gentrification and how rich white people devalue Black people, consider their communities disposable, and take advantage of them.
A white real estate agent is working with a clan of pretty, white metropolitan vampires to buy out all the black people in the Bronx with the promise of a better life in the suburbs. But naturally, the bloodsucking whities plan to make the black people their food.
It’s up to three boys—mixed race, Black, and Spanish—to figure out how to take down the vamps since none of the adults believe them.
All the classic clichés are in place—no reflection, garlic, stakes, crucifixes, coffins—as the boys use every trick in the book (and in Blade movies) to try to save the Bronx!
It’s cute and fun with excellent performances, mild suspense, some atmospheric vampire action, and plenty of heart and humor.
SCARE ME (2020)
Josh Ruben wrote, directed, and stars in this “horror” comedy that plays out like you’re just sitting watching two people act out scary stories for most of its running time. It feels very much like it could have been a play.
Josh portrays a horror writer that comes to a cabin in the woods to work in isolation.
When there’s a blackout, his neighbor from a nearby cabin (superhero Stormfront from the Amazon show The Boys) comes to hang with him by the fire. A more successful horror writer than him and quite arrogant about it, she challenges him to a game of scaring each other with stories.
This is not a wraparound for an anthology. Josh acts out a werewolf story brilliantly. Then she acts out a story. They make numerous references to horror movies. She pokes fun at his white manhood.
By the time they tell a story together, the film is limping along. This third story could have been left out and it would have greatly fixed the major pacing problem here.
Chris Redd from SNL and the porno horror comedy Deep Murder shows up as a pizza delivery boy, injecting a bit of a refresher into the humor. He joins in the storytelling and fits right in, but again, the story isn’t great. Although it has a musical number!
Personally, I would rather have watched Josh act out the werewolf story three more times instead of sit through any of the other stories. Not totally true. I’d want the musical number to stay.
The final act gets to the whole point. It saves the movie if you’ve sat through the whole thing, but I don’t know that I could say it’s worth sitting through the whole movie to get to it. However, it is worth sitting through for the great performances. I would definitely see this as a live play with the same cast.