'Day Shift' review: Jamie Foxx is a vampire hunter in campy horror romp
Courtesy of Netflix
From the opening chords of “California Love (remix)” by 2pac and Dr. Dre followed by subsequent needle drops of “Body Count’s In The House” by Body Count and, uh, Nickelback’s “Photograph,” it’s clear the exact tone director J.J. Perry’s silly and cartoonish vampire hunting flick “Day Shift” is striving for. And if that wasn’t enough, the first scene where Foxx’s character walks into an elderly woman's home and, without context, blasts here seven feet into the wall with a shotgun, should equally do the trick. Rest assured, the old lady was a bloodsucking cretin who needed to be axed, but the film's signature beauty is that it doesn’t stop to answer questions. It just goes and waits for everyone else to catch-up.
It mostly works and unlike Foxx’s previous Netflix original, the forgettable “Project Power,” “Day Shift” creates a fantasy landscape worth investing in. Foxx plays Bud Jablonski, whose pool cleaning business in the San Fernando Valley is actually a front for his real career: slaying vampires. Bud, however, has gained a reputation among the vampire killing community, which got him banned from the local union. In this universe, the union shells out top dollar for every kill, so Bud has to get resourceful and take a lesser payday on the back market (enter Peter Stormare who, by law, has to be included in any movie revolving around vampires).
Usually Bud can make do with whatever payments, but his exhausted ex-wife (Meagan Good) is planning to sell the home, pack up his young daughter, and move to Florida unless he can come up with $10,000 to help pay for tuition and braces. He’ll need some help to make that happen, namely the assistance of a pencil-pushing union rep, Seth (Dave Franco) forced to tag along and make sure he abides by the code of ethics and can even help dissect which species of vampires are located based on their dwelling and eating habits. He’s also a big fan of “Twilight.”
The real-estate/queen vampire baddie played by Karla Souza doesn’t leave much impact in “Day Shift” as she’s after Bud for various reasons and plans to turn the Valley into her own Vampire haven (Instead of being evil and ghoulish, she just kind of exists). Perry, a former stunt double who met Foxx making “Django Unchained,” finds the sweet spot between practical pyrotechnics and wonky CGI: a thrilling motorcycle chase midway through the movie gets the best of both worlds. Hard to knock “Day Shift” which proudly boasts its schlocky attitude and has several crafty vampire brawls, not to mention Snoop Dogg showing up as a stoned hunter named Big John is deserving of an honorary Oscar. Okay, not really, but “Day Shift” is goofy enough that it should draw favorable comparisons to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and not “Blade Trinity.”
DAY SHIFT is now streaming on Netflix.