Films like Day Shift are a sign that the summer-movie season has played out, and movie fans will endure a lag before the fall and winter bring films like Halloween Ends, that darned Avatar sequel, and Somebody Falls In Love With Somebody From Full House or Mean Girls in a Completely Innocuous and Somewhat Mundane Way and It’s Christmas Outside on the Hallmark Channel.
Day Shift is a Netflix streamer, and it stars Jamie Foxx as Bud, a vampire hunter masquerading as a pool cleaner. The film offers bad-TV-show-style writing and special effects, even though is supposed to be a summertime movie offering, not an extended episode of some lame streaming show with fake fangs in it.
Bud is running low on cash and about to lose his wife and kid—because Dad is a shitty provider—so he decides to get back into a vampire-hunter union to make cash selling vampire fangs. Of course, to get those fangs, you have to kill vampires—which come out at night. Since Bud got himself kicked out of the union, and is being welcomed back on a probationary basis, he must work the day shift. Thus, the title of this shitty movie.
Another provision of his probation is that he must have a partner, and that guy comes in the guise of Dave Franco as a nerdy, tight-assed pencil pusher who would rather ride a desk than stake vampires. Franco is normally a likable and funny actor, but he’s whiny and annoying in the role; he and Foxx don’t have a lot of fun on film together. This is not good for a buddy comedy.
The film starts with the tone of a schlocky vampire thriller, and then it tries to shift into dark horror-comedy, à la An American Werewolf in London. Director J.J. Perry doesn’t pull it off, and as a result, some moments feel like they are in the wrong movie, while bad continuity decisions result in total sloppiness.
A major, plot-shifting thing happens to a main character offscreen. I kept rewinding the film to see if I had missed something. Nope … it’s just sloppy filmmaking.
Foxx—a reliable comic actor with decent action chops—is good enough to make you feel like he deserved better for his efforts. Franco’s work, on the other hand, is embarrassingly bad—to the point that it’s fair to worry about the direction of his career.
Day Shift is just sailing on a sea of very bad ideas—with lots of fake fangs in it. The film is truly hard to watch.
Day Shift is now streaming on Netflix.