Day Shift

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Jamie Foxx in Day Shift.
Jamie Foxx in Day Shift.
Photo: Parrish Lewis/Netflix

MOVIE:

Day Shift

WHERE TO WATCH:

Netflix

OUR RATING:

2/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

An LA vampire hunter has a week to come up with the money to pay for his kid's tuition and braces. Trying to make a living these days just might kill him.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

Outside of television, the vampire movie genre is in a bit of a lull at the moment, as there seems to be a struggle to find a new direction for our favourite nightcrawlers. The last good one was last year's Blood Red Sky, a little German horror that's well worth checking out, and beyond that, vampire films are pretty sparse. Netflix's Day Shift had the opportunity to give us something new and different - an LA-based bounty hunter caper that's almost a buddy-cop movie except with vampire hunters. But unfortunately, it's as soulless as its antagonists and just another payday for Jamie Foxx. This kind of movie will be forgotten as soon as I finish writing this review.

Just like the similarly tedious Project Power - another Jamie Foxx-Netflix fantasy film flop - on paper and in trailers, the movie looked like something original and intriguing. Set in an overly sunny Los Angeles, a vampire hunter down on his luck tries everything he can to keep his family together, including returning to an organisation that's just too much a stickler for rules. Unfortunately, in his pursuit to get the money he needs, he falls foul of the wrong powerful vampire, unknowingly putting everyone in his path in even more danger.

I would have liked a glitzy LA vampire caper, as they fight to take back the day in the one place the light rarely dies, complete with vapid Hollywood types that suck creativity out of humans. Unfortunately, all we got was Foxx going through his motions on auto-pilot while a poor Dave Franco tries hard to perform CPR on his role as a nerdy Union rep highly unsuited for fieldwork. It's a gag that plays repeatedly, and the jokes start to wear thin pretty early as the film eternally drags its feet.

The only hint of some passion in this film was the action, coupled with a great introduction to supernaturally flexible vampires, but this creature mechanic got lost as the movie progressed. The great stunt choreography was cheated by paint-by-numbers camerawork and editing that had clearly no idea how to build a narrative from its action. Stunt coordinator J.J. Perry made his directorial debut with this film, but he failed to grasp how to put his knowledge to good use behind the lens to make the action pop. This is especially a bad look considering the man has worked on the Fast and Furious and John Wick franchises, well-known for their phenomenal stunts woven into their narratives. In Day Shift, it felt more like an afterthought than the central focus, which could have saved it from banality.

As for the story, it's a combination of monotony with a big dash of nothingness, especially when it comes to the villain and her motives. Uber vampire (whatever the hell that means) Audrey is a real estate agent who wants to, I don't know, take over the Valley, I think, and her plans are to… take over real estate. This movie is incredibly lazy with its vampire lore and speeds through it so fast that the audience barely has a chance to get to grips with how everything works. Even the main villain's plan for domination doesn't make much sense, and she somehow has a product that lets vampires go in the sun, but there's no reveal for it, just an offhand comment from Foxx after a vampire runs away from him. The film even forgets its setups, where everyone talks about some mysterious uber-powerful vampire gang leader, but they never make an appearance.

No amount of cowboy Snoop Dogg giving roundhouse kicks to vampires could save Day Shift from the void of obscurity, lacking any sort of longevity that other vampire films have, like Blade, The Lost Boys, Underworld, What We Do in the Shadows and even Twilight. These films brought something different to the genre, using the creatures of the night to reflect on certain aspects of humanity or the lack thereof, and highlight why we need to preserve it. Day Shift, however, completely strips the vampire of what makes it such a compelling villain in the first place and should be a hard miss on your watchlist.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

Day Shift is now streaming on Netflix.


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