After Netflix released Texas Chainsaw Massacre in February, the streaming platform has largely ignored horror in 2022. But as summer winds down, Netflix decides to go big or go home with its vampire action-comedy-horror hybrid, Day Shift. On paper, a cool vampire movie starring Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg should be gold. And based on the promotional materials, Day Shift looks to double down on the hip and cool factors. To date, however, not everyone has been sold on this one. Critical reaction has been pretty mixed.
To make ends meet, pool cleaner Bud Jablonski pull double duty – as a vampire hunter in Los Angeles. When his estranged wife decides to move to Florida with their daughter, however, Jablonski needs to come up with quick cash. Out of options, he goes back to the ‘Hunter’s Union’ and takes the ‘day shift’ for fast money. Saddled with a ‘desk jockey’ union rep tasked with keeping an eye on him, Jablonski works the streets while a new vampire threat emerges.
Day Shift Tries Really, Really Hard to be Cool and Funny
Oh boy, Day Shift really, really wants to be a hip take on vampires. Yet just like that kid in high school trying too hard to get the class’ attention, Day Shift buckles under the weight of its own hackneyed jokes. Writers Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten riddle their screenplay with more groanworthy jokes than vampire bodies. Most of this humor is of the toilet variety. When a running joke about peeing yourself is one of the screenplay’s highlights, you know you’re in for a long haul. And it’s Dave Franco (The Rental) who shoulders the bulk of the worst jokes and attempts at farcical humor. Though Franco’s proven he is more than capably funny in comedies, Day Shift leaves him to sink.
When a running joke about peeing yourself is one of the screenplay’s highlights, you know you’re in for a long haul.
Consistent with its exhausting efforts at humor, Day Shift plays out like a mix of tired ‘buddy cop’ movie and annoying horror fanboy. Its pairing of Jamie Foxx’ grizzled vampire hunter ‘Bud Jablonski’ and Franco’s hapless desk jockey ‘Seth’ is intended to lead to hilarious conflict and misunderstandings. Spoiler alert – it does not. Wouldn’t the movie had been better off following Foxx and Snoop Dogg as advertised? Moreover, Tice and Hatten’s screenplay turns the middle act of the movie into ‘hip’ re-imaging of vampire lore. Or at least it tries to. What the writers accomplish feels like ‘vampires meet M.I.B.’ with a ‘Hey, look at me’ obnoxiousness. When Snoop Dogg delivers the movie’s final line – a reference to the much better The Lost Boys – you’ll just have to hope a sequel never materializes.
Day Shift Has Plenty of Action, But Not Much Else
If its story and jokes are lacklustre, Day Shift sort of makes up for it with some fun, impressive action scenes. Not surprisingly, first-time director J.J. Perry has spent most of his career as a stuntman. He certainly knows how to stage his action and fight scenes, which are admittedly standouts in the movie. Both the opening scene and a midway attack on an L.A. suburbs vampire nest show off Perry’s eye for breakneck spectacle. Whether it’s the fight choreography or vampire contortions, Day Shift has a handful of fun moments. Moreover, Perry impresses with his ability to edit the scenes without losing what makes them work.
By the time the climax rolls around, Day Shift is just a really loud movie.
Where Day Shift runs into a problem is its pacing and the repetitiveness of those adrenaline-fueled moments. While Perry understands fight choreography, he struggles to hold your attention when things slow down. Aside from the fact that the movie has vampires in it, Day Shift doesn’t do much if anything with its horror elements. There’s also no real suspense or genuine thrills either. Yes, Perry has lots of action, but the lack of genuine stakes or urgency to the story eventually take much of the steam out of this strength. By the time the climax rolls around, Day Shift is just a really loud movie. But at least the soundtrack is pretty killer. And Foxx and Snoop Dogg are fun in their respective roles.
Day Shift is Mildly Entertaining, Often Annoying,
Occasionally entertaining, often juvenile, always very loud, Day Shift works as a mild diversion. In fact, younger audiences may enjoy it and general horror fans will find it inoffensive. Everything about this Netflix horror-comedy, however, stinks of effort. Perry, Tice, and Hatten clearly wanted to make this one a ultra-hip movie filled with winks and nods. Though the kinetic action mostly works the screenplays jam-packed vampire revisionism and lowbrow humor does not. Ultimately, Day Shift is a watchable movie that you’re not likely to remember or re-visit.