The movie ‘Day Shift’ isn’t superclass but it delivers as a vampire-horror genre

Omoleye Omoruyi
…with Day Shift, Jamie Foxx links up with Dave Franco to give the audience a somewhat fresh mix of bloody gore and good laughs.
Day Shift
Day Shift

Jamie Foxx lives to act and tell stories, which was exactly his goal with Day Shift.

His range as an actor is one to study – who else can effortlessly go from Oscar-winning biopics to vampire-hunting action movies?

There have been vampire movies before some of the millennials, and all of Gen Zs were born, and with Day Shift, Jamie Foxx links up with Dave Franco to give the audience a somewhat fresh mix of bloody gore and good laughs.

Jamie Foxx stars as ‘Bud Jablonski’ (a name that literally says the role wasn’t written with him in mind) a working-class Los Angeles pool cleaner who hunts down vampires to sell their teeth for cash.

The cast of Day Shift

Real names
Dave FrancoSeth
Natasha Liu BordizzoHeather
Meagan GoodJocelyn Jablonski
Karla SouzaAudrey San Fernando
Steve HoweyMike Nazarian
Scott AdkinsDiran Nazarian
Oliver MasucciKlaus
Snoop DoggBig John Elliott
Eric LangeRalph Seeger
Peter StormareTroy
Zion BroadnaxPaige Jablonski
Danielle KennedyOld Lady
Shai DebrouxOld Lady’s Awakened Vamp
J.C. WendelBlonde Neighbour
Maryellen AvianoBud’s Other Neighbour
Miyuki MatsunagaDry Cleaner Mimoko
Micshell Rena MilsapUnion Hall Receptionist (as Micshell Milsap)
Keith JeffersonBirthday Party Dad
Kira PerryBirthday Girl
Dave BrownBald Man (as Dave J. Brown)
Massi FurlanSasha
Cast of Day Shift

The horror comedy was directed by J.J. Perry.  Chad Stahelski, Jason Spitz, Jamie Foxx, Shaun Redick Yvette Yates Redick, Datari Turner, and Peter Baxter produced. 

Day Shift was released on Netflix on August 12, 2022, and had a $100 million budget.

Reception

164 IMDb users have given Day Shift a weighted average vote of 6.5/10 – 43 (26.2%) of that number voted it a 10. On Rotten Tomatoes, it is rated 58% from 76 reviews, and has a 60% audience score.

Users of Metacritic rate it 52% based on 28 Critic Reviews.

On Google Trends, interest in the movie kept fluctuating and rose to just above 100 points when it was finally released.

Day Shift

A few comments…

Day Shift is a damned delight. One would be tempted to call it the best horror comedy of 2022 so far, but it mixes so many genres it’s more like 2022’s best horror-buddy-cop-cartel-drama-bounty-hunter-martial-arts-action comedy (so far) – Michael Ordona.

Day Shift’s gory, cheesy, vampire-hunting comedy-action film…is exactly what you expect, and that’s a good thing. The contortionist vampires are fun to watch, especially as they’re used for grapple-heavy impromptu martial-arts matches, and the soundtrack is solid – Kevin Fox Jr.

When you think “vampire-hunter,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Depending on your vintage, it might be Van Helsing, Blade, Buffy, or, erm, Abraham Lincoln. This latest Netflix entry hopes to add a Los Angeles pool-cleaner to that storied company; while it’s unlikely to add more than a footnote to the legacy of Bram Stoker, it’s a likeable enough addition to the garlic-and-wooden-stakes canon – John Nugent.

Day Shift
Day Shift

From the backend

Complex met with the actors during a press junket for Day Shift in Miami and Jamie Foxx shared that he specifically wanted to work with Dave Franco for years before they both signed up for this one.

I have been tracking Dave Franco for a long time. I’ve even pitched movies to him, I said I gotta be in business with this guy, and now finally here we are,” Foxx says, according to Complex

“I don’t call it a coming-out party because we already know how great he is, but to me, he got a chance to flex every muscle that I knew he would be able to do and just take over the film. Every time we came to set, I was wondering, what’s he going to bring?”

On why the vampires move like that, J. J. Perry says, according to Polygon, “I’m a little bit dyslexic. So when I’m editing stuff, sometimes I watch it forward, and then I watch it backwards. I was in Hungary doing a movie called Spectral in 2014. And I had a very flexible girl doing a reaction. I was watching and I was like, Wow, it looks better in reverse. So it sparked the idea. I pitched those reactions to every director I’ve worked for since 2014. And nobody wanted to use them. They’re like, I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense. So when the opportunity came for me to use it, I was like, I got something fresh and new.”

There’s a lot of tells when you shoot in reverse,” Perry says. “Hair, clothing, smoke in the background. The R&D for that was very extensive.”

The story

Day Shift is not exactly superclass, but it’s not time wasted at home on the couch with popcorn on the side table. Besides, sometimes all you need is Jamie Foxx in a Hawaiian shirt and Snoop Dogg as a black cowboy, killing vampires with swords, shotguns, and garlic grenades.

Jamie Foxx plays ‘Bud’, a pool guy in the San Fernando Valley experiencing financial incapacitation. But, we learn in the first scene that this job was just a cover for his real gig as a cast-away bounty hunter of vampires.

The vampires this time are not your regulars but those who know kung-fu and are quite bendy. So, you’ll find boatloads of action and unreasonably long fights staged for the pure joy of crazy violence.

‘Bud Jablonski’ needs to rejoin the vampire-hunters’ union (a global federation of vampire hunters) because he needs money to dissuade his ex-wife – Jocelyn Jablonski- from moving away with their daughter – ‘Paige Jablonski’.

He has to ramp up his vampire hunting to accumulate and sell more teeth so that he can make $10,000 in less than a week, give it to ‘Jocelyn’ to catch up on the mortgage, pay private school tuition for ‘Paige’ and eliminate the financial necessity of ‘Jocelyn’ selling the house.

Day Shift - Bud Jablonski and Big John.jpg
Bud and Big John

To be taken back into the union, he had the help of his friend ‘Big John’ (Snoop Dogg) who manages to convince the boss Ralph Seeger on the condition that Bud works the Day Shift.

But ‘Bud’ has to have a rep observing him during work hours. That rep – ‘Seth’ – is a by-the-book desk jockey who would later become a vampire hunter and Bud’s good friend.

Before Seth’s principles are deflowered, ‘Bud’ ignores all the rules and continues to hunt the undead. Meanwhile, a vampire elder, an “Übervampire” – ‘Karla Souza’ – is hunting Bud for killing her daughter in the first scene.

Day Shift - Bud Jablonski and Seth (PHOTO-Parrish Lewis/Netflix)
Day Shift – Bud Jablonski (R) and Seth (L) (PHOTO-Parrish Lewis/Netflix)

Eventually, ‘Bud’ and ‘Seth’ get drawn into a real-estate conspiracy involving a community for vampires led by ‘Karla Souza’.

Bud’s performance is reminiscent of Blade, except that the former is not a vampire.

Day Shift is no less a low-stakes vampire plot that ends up being more of a way to end personal struggles than the usual ‘end of the world’ story.

The “secret society/assassin” backdrop feels like a combination of Blade and John Wick, and when it is a series, think of The Umbrella Academy.

What we think

We are glad to see that Day Shift is not another vampire film that revolves around a prophecy or a cure to the sickness of blood-sucking ex-humans roaming the world, turning everyone in their path – do not forget the safe houses and safe communities that usually end vampire movies.

The cast of Day Shift do their best to strike the right balance between jokes and the normalcy of the existence of vampires.

However, the horror comedy does not give you too much new stuff you would not expect if you are a movie lover, except for a handful of twists in the final act.

Day Shift – mindless, high-energy entertainment – picks from horror and comedy predecessors (think Men in Black, but this time vampires), cartel-war films, and martial arts flicks and stirs them together to give you what you may need to relax this night or this weekend.

DAY SHIFT. JAMIE FOXX as BUD JABLONSKI. CR. PARRISH LEWIS/NETFLIX
DAY SHIFT. JAMIE FOXX as BUD JABLONSKI. CR. PARRISH LEWIS/NETFLIX

It also draws from that cliché ‘send in the big guy while we have conversations that drag the intended act’ in it. But, who can argue with that? We don’t want children as vampires or the main characters dying.

“Day Shift” isn’t big on satire or subtext, but making the film’s most fearsome bloodsucker a real estate developer will give you the laughs.

The movie excels in the action, too, as it is full of kinetic camerawork, physics-defying stunts, and inventive kills – you would have to watch the film to see these.

Day Shift doesn’t rewrite the myth of the vampire, and it is the kind of film that will get your blood pumping and put a smile on your face.

Meanwhile, this has to be Snoop Dogg‘s best big-screen appearance yet, as a legendary, cowboy-outfitted vampire hunter.


If you’d like to get featured on our Entrepreneur Spotlight, click here to share your startup story with us.


Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!


Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!