Vampire movies are out of fashion. The concept of a creature with fangs sucking the blood out of people’s necks while being killed by garlic and sunlight is so absurd that they have been used primarily in comedy recently, as seen in films such as Hotel Transylvania and What we do in the shadows. However, the latest Netflix original dares to bring back serious vampires Day shiftan action comedy about an ordinary pool cleaner named Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx) who works to support his family the only way he knows how: by killing vampires and selling their teeth.
Day shift is a strangely entertaining vampire film that may not be a good film in the traditional sense, but offers something of a viewing experience in its own right. The script, written by Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten, does an excellent job of establishing Bud’s character, showing him as a well-meaning father who works hard to provide for his daughter. But he needs $10,000 in less than a week or his family will move to Florida to save money. This sets strong emotional stakes and a ticking clock for Bud to make money – whatever the cost.
This film is helmed by JJ Perry, who has spent decades working in Hollywood as a stuntman, making this his directorial debut. This is a similar step taken by John Wick director Chad Stahelski, and they both use their backgrounds to create some excellent action sequences. This movie has its fair share of fights and chases, and at times it feels like there should have been more of them, if only because the movie is never as entertaining as it could have been. The concept of hunting vampires is excellent, but the film never sees it through to its full potential.
In the center of Day shift is Bud and Seth (Dave Franco), a mismatched duo where Bud is a cool vampire hunter and Seth is a bookkeeper forced into the field. The juxtaposition of a hardcore action hero and a desk jockey is cliche buddy cop territory. Still, it’s a formula that works because of how much fun it is to see these personalities collide. Foxx and Franco play off each other very well and have great chemistry, screen presence and star power. They don’t have an iconic duo like Lee and Carter Rush hourbut the film takes their relationship into unexpected places.
This is an excellent throwback movie. All about Day shift feels like it was made in the early 2000s, with a similar tone Blade and Underworld. There’s a comedic spin to everything, but this film revels in the absurd in its action sequences, which require a suspension of disbelief. While the film offers the more current drone footage seen in films such as Ambulance and The gray man, everything feels like a product of days gone by and offers more entertainment value than I’m willing to admit. It’s a movie that’s very easy to hate, but that you secretly enjoy.
As far as actual issues go, the villain, Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), is extremely weak and forgettable. Her motivations are established, but there’s nothing that puts her above generic action movie villain territory. Furthermore, Heather (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) gets a significant role in the final act that doesn’t feel earned due to the lack of screen time before it. It feels like she appeared in a few deleted scenes as her involvement in the plot is sudden and strange. There are moments where the dialogue can be terrible, and the writing is never strong enough to make this better than the average Netflix original.
But even with that in mind, Day shift remains a lot of fun. The characters are generally established and there are some humorous moments. While the film can sometimes feel like it loses Bud’s financial goal of going down a more conventional story route, it’s never boring. Once in a while it’s nice to sit back and enjoy a good old guilty pleasure and you’ll find that with all the blood, guts and body parts this movie has to offer – maybe even more than you’re willing to to admit.
Like ComingSoon’s audit policy explains, a score of 6 corresponds to “Decent”. It fails to reach its full potential and is a run-of-the-mill experience.
Disclosure: The critic received a press screener for ComingSoon’s Day shift review.