Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Brooklyn Love Stories – review

Director: Sonejuhi Sinha (segment)

Release date: 2019

Contains spoilers

Not my normal genre of film, admittedly, but vampires do get everywhere. This time they get into an anthology of love stories set in and around Bushwick, Brooklyn (the original title of the film was Bushwick Beats).

The segment we are interested in is entitled Love Trumps Hate and it did quite a bit of world building in its short running length.

vampire genocide

The segment starts at a butcher’s shop, the camera moves through the store (the butcher (Ed Furs) is sleeping) and a radio news programme is on. The news mentions a group of vampires arrested and killed crossing the New York State Line, the arrest carried out by the Silver Bullet Coalition, classed by some as a hate group. A spokesperson for the Vampire Rights Reform Association talks about the 12 million “peaceful” vampire population of two years ago falling to 2 million and the word genocide is mentioned. It is suggested that synth-blood is being used as bait to trap vampires. This is the neat world building, the short did it well though the content is not new – most obviously some of the True Blood storylines come to mind.

hiding fangs

In the back of the store Sadie (Britt Baron) is drinking animal blood from a tray. She leaves and turns the radio up as she passes, waking the butcher (though he doesn’t see her). On the street we see a newspaper with a headline about the genocide. We see her on the rooftops from where she spots a woman, Harlow (Britne Oldford), and the woman seems to see her too. At one point we see Sadie using marker to blacked the tips of her fangs – pointless (if you pardon the pun) given the up-close “fang checks” we see later.

Britne Oldford as Harlow

Sadie tries to get into a club but sees a vampire caught by bouncers, brought to his knees and cuffed. She walks away but ends up sneaking in through the rear door. At a bar we see a member of the Silver Bullet Coalition – dressed in black, arm-band declaring his loyalty and a gun in his waistband, the analogy with a fascistic organisation is obvious. In the club Sadie meets Harlow and they are attracted and kiss, but Sadie cuts the other woman’s lip (on a fang presumably). She apologises, she should have said… but will love trump hate?


This was nicely filmed and did its world building well (even if it did broadcast its political messaging unsubtly). It took full advantage of the vampire’s positioning as the ‘Other’ but, as representative of non-heteronormative love in the anthology, the use of a vampire (with the vampire's place as an analogy for queerness) was equally understandable as wall as a tad obvious. What I was less convinced of was the narrative of the actual love story, which was rushed. Perhaps it was because the effort had been made with the world building and the characterisation was, therefore, quite two-dimensional. Not a fault of the actresses who did what they could with little. Perhaps it was just very simple. I was less than moved by it, I’m afraid, though it may just not be my genre. However, for the very effective world building 4 out of 10 – the story itself (and the characterisation) too simple and under-explored.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

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