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Film Review: Day Shift is an Engaging, Action-Packed Vampire Comedy with Stellar Performances

Effortlessly evolving in order to adapt to, and ultimately thrive in, an ever-changing environment, while also remaining true to their core values, is an important element for all members and aspects of society. That’s certainly true for the cast, crew and characters of Netflix’s new vampire action comedy, Day Shift.

Moving away from the more serious, character-driven vampire movies and television series that were released during the horror subgenre’s most recent surge of popularity in the late 200s and early 2010s, Day Shift offers a welcome change to the vampire lore. Helmed by experienced stuntman J.J. Perry in his feature film directorial debut, the comedy doesn’t present its vampires as sympathetic anti-heroes who deserve redemption, like the subgenre’s most recent projects.

Instead, Day Shift thrives on its unexpected natural comedic bond between its lead actors, Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco. Accompanying their humor is the light-hearted fights they engage in with the ruthless vampires, as both sides want nothing more than to protect their own species.

DAY SHIFT. (L to R) Dave Franco as Seth and Jamie Foxx as Bud in Day Shift. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2022

Day Shift follows Bud Jablonski (Foxx), a Los Angeles vampire hunter who moonlights as a swimming pool cleaner in order to scour the San Fernando Valley for the undead, immortal beings. He kills vampires and sells their fangs to several black market buyers, including Troy (Peter Stormare), in order to support his 8-year-old daughter, Paige (Zion Broadnax).

Bud is surprised when his ex-wife, Jocelyn (Meagan Good), unexpectedly informs him that she needs $10,000 within a week to pay for Paige’s school tuition and braces, or she’ll have to move in with her mother in Florida. He becomes so determined to quickly make the money that he asks his former colleague, Big John Elliott (Snoop Dogg), to help him be accepted back into the vampire-hunting union, which he was kicked out of for numerous code violations.

In order to be accepted back into the union, Bud be accompanied at all times by union office worker, Seth (Franco), who’s completely inexperienced in the field. Seth’s boss, Ralph (Eric Lange), forces him to accompany Bud at all times during their hunts, and report back any violations he commits.

But the drastically different hunters soon bond over Bud’s desire to protect his family from their new enemy: vampire elder Audrey (Karla Souza), who’s determined to do whatever it takes to completely infiltrate the Valley with her followers. The adversaries keep pursuing each other until they meet in an ultimate showdown that promises to leave only side victorious.

DAY SHIFT. (L to R) Jamie Foxx as Bud, Zion Broadnax as Paige and Meagan Good as Jocelyn in Day Shift. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2022

Day Shift thrives on its thrilling mix of comedy and action sequences, but, like most entries in the action genre, doesn’t completely flush out its character and plot developments. Tice, who made his feature film writing debut with the comedy, and veteran action scribe Hatten, who also penned Netflix’s Army of the Dead series and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, followed several general genre tropes.

One of the biggest plot holes of the movie is that the vampire lore isn’t entirely explained. There’s little clarification over how Audrey became the leader of the vampires in the Valley and what her political agenda is, as well as why and how her followers became split into several different factions.

Day Shift also doesn’t provide much backstory into the lives of Bud, Seth and the people around them, and how they were led into their fields of work. While Bud and Seth have both committed their lives to killing vampires, no explanation is offered into how they choose the line of work, and what part of the field to pursue.

Despite that lack of detailed explanation of the characters’ personalities, Foxx and Franco both enthrallingly bring their characters to life on screen throughout the film. The two actors, who initially seem to be miscast against each other in Day Shift, ultimately prove to be a perfect fit as they each thrive in showing their characters’ unique arcs.

Foxx infuses Bud with a powerful fearlessnes while he’s working in the field to end his enemies’ undead lives. The Oscar-winning actor also proves the main character isn’t afraid to defend himself against the vampires, or question the ethics of killing a being that was once human; he instead just focuses on his need to collect their fangs so that he can make money to support his family.

DAY SHIFT. Karla Souza as Audrey in Day Shift. Cr. Netflix © 2022.

Franco, meanwhile, effortlessly brings Seth’s naivety over how to actually hunt vampires in the field while shadowing, and learning from, Bud’s pursuit of Audrey and her followers. The Emmy Award-nominated actor effortlessly plays his new vampire hunter as being reluctant to begin his recently assigned duties, in hopes to prove to Ralph that he deserves a promotion in the union office. But Seth soon builds a true friendship with Bud that instills a confidence in him that encourages him to believe in himself.

While Foxx and Franco prove to have a surprisingly remarkable chemistry together on screen throughout the film, the feature also truly thrives on its overall elaborate fight scenes, which make up most of the story.

Perry, who has 30 years experience working as a stuntman/coordinator in Hollywood, including choreographing action sequences in the Fast & Furious and John Wick series, infused Day Shift with equally imaginative and exciting stunts. From the vampires acting as contortionists in order to defend themselves against Bud and Seth during their fights, to the duo blasting their enemies backwards during raids of the undead’s hives, the captivating stunts will likely be what the new comedy is most remembered for in the future.

While the character and plots are unfortunately underdeveloped in Day Shift, the overall feature proves to be a compelling, action-packed vampire comedy. The movie thrives on its natural, light-hearted bond between Foxx and Franco, whose protagonists quickly learn to overcome their differences, in order to engage in captivating fights with the ruthless vampires and protect humanity.

Day Shift is now streaming on Netflix.

Grade: B-

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Here’s the trailer of the film.
Karen Benardello
Karen Benardellohttps://cinemadailyus.com
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.

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