REVIEW: ‘Day Shift’ Is The Blue Collar Blade, and That’s Awesome

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Day Shift - But Why Tho

Day Shift is a Netflix Original Film directed by J.J. Perry and written by Tyler Tice & Shay Hatten. Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx), at first glance, may seem like an ordinary California resident. He wants to take care of his daughter Paige (Zion Broadnax) and repair his relationship with his wife Jocelyn (Meagan Good). And while he seemingly has a steady job as a pool cleaner, Bud is hiding a secret: he secretly hunts vampires and sells their fangs to make a living.

Learning that Jocelyn plans to move to Florida and take Paige with her, Bud reluctantly rejoins the vampire hunters’ union – and is promptly saddled with neurotic bureaucrat Seth (Dave Franco), who monitors his every move. Things escalate when one of Bud’s victims turns out to be connected to the powerful elder vampire Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), who puts a target on his head. Bud, with Seth in tow, has to avoid whole nests of vampires while also trying to score enough cash to keep his family together.

The supernatural has been quite a fertile ground for Netflix, especially when it comes to vampire content. From the criminally underrated First Kill to the smash success of Castlevania, the creatures of the night have been a recurring presence on the streamer. Day Shift kicks it up a notch with its own unique spin on the world of vampire hunting. While characters like Blade and Buffy Summers hunt vampires for matters of vengeance or destiny, vampire hunting is a job for Bud. Tice & Hatten slowly layer in elements of vampire lore throughout their script with a rather casual approach, which works in the film’s favor. There’s enough there to keep viewers interested (and tease a potential sequel) but not enough to overwhelm them. Given Hatten’s work on Army of the Dead, it only makes sense that he’d take the same approach to vampires that he did to zombies.

The real standout behind the scenes is Perry. Having previously served as a stunt coordinator on projects including John Wick, the Fast & Furious saga, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier he’s choreographed some intense action sequences. And in Day Shift he gets immensely creative. One scene has Bud joining forces with a pair of fellow vampire hunters who happen to be brothers (and one of them is even played by legendary stuntman Scott Adkins) to take on a whole house of vampires, with each bloodsucker being dispatched in a creative way.

The best way?

One of the brothers spits a wad of garlic in a vampire’s face, which burns it clean off. And a car chase is interspersed with scenes from a racing game, as Bud tries to stay one step ahead of his vampiric pursuers. That isn’t even getting into the vampires themselves; most of them are able to contort their bodies into inhuman shapes, resulting in some truly terrifying scenes. The fingerprints of Wick director Chad Stahelski, who serves as an executive producer, are all over this project.

Though Day Shift is packed with action as well as horror, it’s also a funny film. A lot of that comes from Foxx and Franco’s dynamic, which is somewhat reminiscent of the one Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones shared in Men in Black. Foxx plays the role of the straight man, while Franco gets some genuinely hilarious moments – Seth’s first encounter with a vampire isn’t exactly the stuff of legends. The rest of the cast is hit and miss, especially Souza’s villain. Her grand design is never really made clear, apart from a brief discussion on buying up rental properties for vampires to inhabit – something that fellow Netflix vampire film Vampires VS The Bronx handled with more care. Similarly, the film isn’t quite sure what to do with Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who plays Bud’s new neighbor Heather with secrets of her own.

But the highlight is Snoop Dogg as the legendary hunter “Big John”. Big John is, in a word, cool. He wears a jet black Stetson and matching duster. He helps Bud out of tight spot after tight spot. And he possesses a Gatling gun nicknamed “Big Bertha”. The idea of “Snoop Dogg as a vampire hunter” sounds like it would be more of a joke than anything, but in playing it straight Perry is able to wring a little more badassery out of his premise.

Day Shift is a B-list premise executed with A-list flair, as the cast and director elevate a thin story. This definitely deserves to be in the same spot as Blade and Underworld when it comes to vampire movies, and I’d love to see a sequel in the future. If you don’t watch it this weekend, it’d also double as a perfect movie for Halloween night.

Day Shift will be available to stream on Netflix on August 12, 2022.


Day Shift
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Day Shift is a B-list premise executed with A-list flair, as the cast and director elevate a thin story. This definitely deserves to be in the same spot as Blade and Underworld when it comes to vampire movies, and I’d love to see a sequel in the future. If you don’t watch it this weekend, it’d also double as a perfect movie for Halloween night.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
%d bloggers like this: