Day Shift (2022) Works for Those Seeking Out Generic Vampire Action Horror
Title: Day Shift
First Non-Festival Release: August 12, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: J.J. Perry
Writer: Tyler Tice, Shay Hatten
Runtime: 113 Minutes
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Meagan Good
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Bud (Jamie Foxx) fronts as a pool cleaner by day when in reality he is a loose cannon vampire hunter. He calls in a favor from his long-time friend Big John (Snoop Dogg) to get him back in with the Union so he can make more money for his family. His relationship with his wife Jocelyn (Meagan Good) is rocky, but he is willing to do anything for his daughter Paige (Zion Broadnax), even if that means coming up with $10,000 for tuition and braces in a week. Thankfully, his plan to get in with the Union works, but he is stuck with an office lackey, Seth (Dave Franco), as a partner whose main goal is to terminate him as soon as he violates the code. With all of this going on, Bud unknowingly makes a powerful enemy that he may regret crossing.
Serviceably generic, Day Shift goes through all the motions of a typical vampiric buddy horror comedy.
Empty popcorn horror is always welcome but for films like Day Shift, there’s a distinct feeling that more could be done to generate a more satisfying feeling. Much of the story is propped up through the tiniest connections. It doesn’t play out like a mystery, since it is broadcast to the audience exactly what is happening, but it operates like one with Bud and Seth tracking down vampires and evading capture.
There is little purpose behind the story. Characters are introduced without much development or fanfare before meeting their end or disappearing. The driving point of the film is Bud’s desire to build a better life for Paige, but their interactions are lukewarm at best in the tiny amount of screentime they have together. In fact, most of Bud’s relationships are pared down to the essentials, which is shocking for a film that is nearly two hours long. Even worse, the main villain, played by a biting Karla Souza, is given so little backstory, aside from her recent personal vendetta against Bud, that one could replace her with any vampire baddie and the film would operate functionally the same.
An irritating overuse of one-liners and bad jokes seriously brings down the quality of the film while also taking away time from developing its plot or major players. The sense of humor is rather juvenile and underdeveloped, with most of the focus being on bodily functions and other similar gags. It’s disappointing considering the wealth of opportunities the film had regarding the overall concept. Between real estate, unions, and its underground economy, Day Shift barely scratches the surface of its own world. It isn’t necessary for the film to even expound on deeper societal issues to do this. It can just add some fun depth to the story. It’s a missed opportunity, but more than likely a welcome one given the bloated script.
While the lack of real development hurts the film, it does pave the way for some truly dynamic action sequences. The choreography is inspired, with many sequences fully utilizing the locations to their biggest advantage. Every inch of the set is devoted to squeezing out the coolest kill possible while maintaining enough breathless tension to move on to the next scene. Fans of brisk action horror should find plenty to enjoy in Day Shift given that it operates like one giant roller coaster of fanged mayhem.
Day Shift doesn’t differentiate itself from similarly themed vampire hunt films while failing to blend its precarious blend of action, horror, and comedy in a meaningful or authentic manner. Over bloated with bad one-liners, excessive fight sequences, and two-dimensional side characters, it’s hard to stay invested in Day Shift as it simply has too much going on for its own good. Despite all this, its affable cast and impressive choreography does elevate the material to a more average overall experience. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you are looking for something mindless and light-hearted Day Shift might be for you.
Overall Score? 5.5/10