Netflix’s Day Shift was among the most anticipated of the streaming giant’s 2022 releases, and for reason. Combining the talents of Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, and Snoop Dogg into a vampire action-comedy set in California makes for an interesting premise, and that’s a large part of Day Shift‘s charm. Boasting high-end talent in leading roles, Day Shift sets itself as a promising and entertaining vampire-hunting adventure.
Day Shift follows Bud Jablonski (Foxx), a pool-cleaning vampire hunter who is faced with the prospect of his ex-wife and daughter moving away if he can’t come up with $10,000 in a single week. In an attempt to solve his money troubles, Bud talks his way back into the vampire hunting union, from which he was expelled for failing to adhere to their rules. Forced to team up with a by-the-book desk jockey, Bud attempts to make enough money to keep his family, risking his his life in the process.
Day Shift gets off to a reasonably good start with an intense action sequence that also serves as the basis for the film’s central conflict. From there, it launches into several scenes of drawn-out exposition which slow the film to a crawl, dampening much of the excitement built by its early action sequence. One by one, characters are introduced that flesh out Day Shift‘s cast, and once the vampire union administrator Seth (Franco) is established, the film finally gets underway in earnest. Regaining its momentum at this stage isn’t a particularly easy task, but Day Shift recovers, and the comedic chemistry between Foxx and Franco helps to set the film back on track.
From here, Day Shift embarks on a journey that establishes a solid action-comedy dynamic. Foxx and Franco continue to work well together, with Snoop Dogg rocking up to add a delightful touch to the film’s lengthy climactic assault on the vampires’ hideout. Steve Howey and Scott Adkins’ small supporting roles as fellow hunters are also brilliant, lending some acrobatic martial arts to one of Day Shift‘s most exciting sequences.
Though Day Shift‘s ending is relatively predictable, it’s still well-executed. What’s more, it’s all achieved with a well-written callback to the film’s first action scene, bringing its story full-circle in a generally satisfactory manner. Day Shift also touches on the often-used idea of vampire-hunting vampires, albeit not quite in the most obvious way. There’s just enough mystery to Day Shift‘s world to make the prospect of a sequel interesting, but not so much that it’s a necessity, which is essentially the best place for it to land.
Day Shift may not be entirely original, but it does achieve everything it sets out to and more. It’s got a great blend of action, comedy, and fantasy, and it’s all kept light and accessible with the use of simple writing. Though it may not be particularly clever or innovative, Day Shift delivers what it promised: fun vampire action. Its weaker points are shored up by innocent comedy, which takes something away from the gravity of its story, but it’s ultimately sound.
Summary: Day Shift does exactly what it needed to – no more, no less. It’s enjoyable, but it’s filled with unoriginal and superficial thrills.
Highlight: The brilliantly choreographed action scene where Bud and Seth team up with the Nazarian Brothers (Howey & Adkins) is by far Day Shift‘s best moment.