By: Amanda Guarragi
A hardworking dad Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx) out to provide for his daughter uses a boring pool-cleaning job as a front for his real gig: hunting and killing vampires. Director J.J. Perry sets the tone early on in Day Shift when he gets right into the action with Jablonski and how he hunts vampires. Audiences can relate to him because he is a father doing the best he can for his daughter, as he sells certain vampire body parts for cash. He can track these vampires and hunt them down with a shotgun to get this money. The action is jam-packed at the very beginning and gives a strong sense of how the movie is going to play out.
Like any other vampire movie, there are rules set within the universe that help audiences understand how everyone operates. The only issue with that is the exposition in regards to how they over-explain their vampires and what they do. It could have been handled a bit differently and not as dense as it was, considering there was a more playful tone at the beginning of this movie. It does get darker as the movie goes on, which would explain the shift. The characters are separated at first but then they all come together in the end to have a final standoff that further explains the history of the vampires in the town. There is a nice mix of mystery between all the characters, but ultimately it drags and the pacing doesn’t work in its favour.
The one reason to watch this vampire-hunting Netflix film is the action. From the moment it started, the fight choreography and special effects are what grabbed my attention. When Foxx was fighting the first vampire, the camera angles and the swift movements of the character impressed me. It felt like Perry wanted to almost make it a video game type of feel with those action sequences. The sequences got more graphic as the movie went on, which is what made it so much fun to watch. There were moments where the VFX on the vampires worked well and almost disgusted me because of how realistic they looked. Perry sold the believability of the vampire-hunting through the action scenes and that’s all anyone can ask of this movie.
Day Shift had the potential to be better than it was if he focused more on the story than the action. There needed to be a balance for this movie to be a memorable addition to the Netflix library. Unfortunately, the jokes did not land and it wasn’t as funny as they thought it would be with Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg in the mix. Is it a fun action movie? For the most part, yes. But it doesn’t have the strength in the story for it to be engaging at all. In this case, the action does overpower the storyline, so it feels like a mindless action movie where you’re just waiting for those awesome scenes. Foxx is always great but it didn’t feel like he had much to do with his character at all, which didn’t do much for the story.