Directed by J.J. Perry
Written by Shay Hatten & Tyler Tice
Director of Photography: Toby Oliver
Composer: Tyler Bates
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Karla Souza, Zion Broadnax, Meagan Good, Steve Howey, Scott Adkins, and Snoop Dogg
Netflix amongst other companies have taken a bite into the vampire genre before, many of which have failed being either too unoriginal or just never crafting a world interesting to elevate the story it was telling. That and the fact that the horror comedy genre is such a tricky one to find success in, you teeter into the one genre more than the other and you risk completely falling short of the goals that were set out to be obtained. Day Shift carefully walks the line throughout its screenplay, and tho it may at times not be the most interesting story- the combination of humor and world building sets up one that mostly left me pleased.
An LA vampire hunter has a week to come up with the cash to keep his family from moving away. Trying to make a living these days might just kill him.
On a screenplay level it may not be some Oscar worthy writing or the most interesting monster movie script. We’ve seen the mash of “what if these monsters existed in our modern world?” Done before, sometimes better, and a lot of the times worse. Yet where the writing is really strong is the world that they end up crafting- something that’s so fascinating in the way that the humans that know of the vampires, deal with policing and profiting off them. As well as the various vampire clans, the short breakdown of each one- and how they differ felt like a breath of fresh air within the genre, we had a genuinely interesting universe built well worth the exploration. The humour mostly hits, not with its own few misses- but it never felt like the dialogue was ever overtly clunky.
The cast is strong for the most part. There’s clear chemistry between Foxx and Franco, having their characters interact and grow as much as they can- helps for the dialogue to follow better, and also leads to a more interesting story telling. Snoop Dogg has one of the best minor roles of the year, and he absolutely rules in it- fully embracing the absurdity of his vampire killing cowboy character. This was my first time seeing Zion Broadnax, and she does a good job as a child actor to hold up with her adult counterparts- it’s nothing monumental, but there’s a few lines throughout that she had me chuckling. I felt unfortunately like Natasha Liu Bordizzo, one of the most overlooked people in Hollywood working today, remains overlooked as her character didn’t have that much to to. Neither did Good, or Karla Souza- who portrays one of the most barebones villains of 2022.
The cinematography and score is fine, but the absolutely looney opening sequence and the scene with Steve Howey and Scott Adkins makes up for it in the technical aspects. Those two moments and the stunts that came with them, were some of the most batty and fun sequences that I can remember having with a movie this year.
It’s not great, but there’s plenty to enjoy so for that reason- Day Shift rides the cusp of a passing grade in my books.