Review: Jamie Foxx hunts vampires in comedy ‘Day Shift’

Aug 11, 2022, 6:02 PM | Updated: 6:11 pm
This image released by Netflix shows Jamie Foxx, left, and Snoop Dogg in a scene from "Day Shift." ...

This image released by Netflix shows Jamie Foxx, left, and Snoop Dogg in a scene from "Day Shift." (Andrew Cooper/Netflix via AP)

(Andrew Cooper/Netflix via AP)

This year marks the centennial anniversary of F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” a long time for us humans but only a blip for vampires.

If you were looking to celebrate the birthday of that silent classic, which still casts a long and ominous shadow over all vampires films that have followed, you could do it with what’s perhaps its exact opposite: the new Netflix action-comedy “Day Shift,” with Jamie Foxx as a San Fernando Valley vampire hunter.

“Day Shift,” which begins streaming Friday, has aims much closer to something like “Zombieland” than Murnau. Foxx plays Bud Jablonski, a working-class Los Angeles man and divorced father who cleans pools as a cover for his real job of hunting vampires. They seem to be especially populous in the San Fernando Valley, which may not be surprising to Californians but is about as far a departure you can get from the aristocratic, European origins of the genre. Plus, “What We Do in the Shadows” already has Staten Island covered.

“Day Shift” isn’t much interested in vampires, anyway. They’re mostly videogame-like cannon fodder for Bud, a veteran hunter who’s quite good at killing them but significantly worse at hiding his real occupation. He’s living on his own after his wife (Meagan Good), suspicious of his excuses, kicked him out. Now, she’s ready to move, with their 10-year-old daughter (Zion Broadnax), far away from Los Angeles unless Bud can come up with $10,000 in a week for school tuition and braces.

But Bud is living fang to fang. He gets his money selling vampire teeth to what’s effectively a pawn shop. He drives a turquoise pick-up and lives, with locks up and down the door, in a seedy apartment complex that appalls his ex. She hears a porn star has just moved in. “They live amongst us,” Bud explains.

“Day Shift,” the directorial debut of former stuntman J.J. Perry and written by Tyler Tice and “Army of the Dead” scribe Shay Hatten, has placed a familiar tale — a down-and-out single father trying to prove his worth — into a vampire movie. There’s also a labor commentary somewhere in here with Bud, kicked out of the vampire hunter union, trying to get back in to secure higher rates for his kills.

But the union subplot is less to drive home a free-market point than to supply Bud a buddy-comedy partner. After another hunter, Big John (Snoop Dogg), helps Bud get back into the union, a union rep (Dave Franco) is assigned to monitor and ride along with Bud. As a suit-wearing, regulations sidekick terrified of vampires but thoroughly knowledgeable about them, Franco is a fine foil to Foxx.

There’s a this-is-barely-a-story feel to “Day Shift,” but not always unpleasantly so. The family plotline is as basic as it gets. The buddy comedy set-up — complete with banter about the “Twilight” saga — is likewise standard boilerplate. “Day Shift” might slot in somewhere around an OK “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode.

Yet the slapdash vibe of “Day Shift” has its charms. It’s built almost perfectly to be the kind of thing you might, after some scrolling, absentmindedly click to watch on Netflix and end of watching for its sheer watchability. That’s due largely to Foxx, whose comic timing remains sharp, and supporting players like Snoop and Peter Stormare who breeze in, as if purely for fun. Thinly sketched as it is, “Day Shift” has a retro vibe. Not, like, “Nosferatu”-retro, but more 1980s. Want to see Jamie Foxx shoot some vampires? Well, you’re in luck.

“Day Shift” a Focus Features release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong violence and gore, and language. Running time: 114 minutes. Two and half stars out of four.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

In this undated surveillance image released by the Stockton Police Department, a person is shown fr...
Associated Press

Killings of 5 men in California are related, police say

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Rewards totaling $85,000 have been offered for information leading to an arrest in five fatal shootings since July in Stockton, California, that investigators believe are related, police said. After reviewing surveillance footage, detectives have located an unidentified “person of interest” in the killings, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden wrote on the […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Tesla sales bounce back in Q3 but fall short of estimates

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tesla’s sales rose 35% in the July-September period compared to the second quarter as the company’s huge factory in China got past supply chain issues and pandemic restrictions. The electric vehicle and solar panel company said Sunday it sold 343,830 cars and SUVs in the third quarter compared with 254,695 deliveries […]
11 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden drives a Cadillac Lyriq through the showroom during a tour at the Detroi...
Associated Press

Biden pledge to make federal fleet electric faces slow start

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden, a self-described “car guy,” often promises to lead by example on climate change by moving swiftly to convert the sprawling U.S. government fleet to zero-emission electric vehicles. But efforts to eliminate gas-powered vehicles from the fleet have lagged. Biden last year directed the U.S. government to purchase only American-made, […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

2 hurt when helicopter crashes in yard of California home

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A helicopter spun out of control and crashed in the front yard of a home in central California, hurting a pilot and passenger, authorities said. The helicopter clipped the edge of the house and sheared off the top of a palm tree before crashing and coming to rest on its side […]
11 hours ago
A model wears a creation for the Valentino ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2023 fashion collection pres...
Associated Press

Glitzy Valentino show sees Paris Fashion Week at fever pitch

PARIS (AP) — Valentino’s Paris fashion show on Sunday saw black cars snared for blocks dropping off battalions of celebrities who, amid the commotion, just couldn’t find the entrance. Seated VIP guests were sweatily crammed in together inside the Le Marais’ Carreau du Temple venue, waiting as the show started an hour late. Outside, screaming […]
11 hours ago
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Billy Eichner in a scene from "Bros." (Nicole Rivel...
Associated Press

Horror pic ‘Smile’ happy at No. 1; ‘Bros’ starts in 4th

Moviegoing audiences chose the horror movie over the romantic comedy to kick off the month of October. Paramount’s ” Smile ” topped the North American charts with $22 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday, leaving Billy Eichner’s rom-com “Bros” in the dust. Universal’s ” Bros ” launched with an estimated $4.8 million […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Review: Jamie Foxx hunts vampires in comedy ‘Day Shift’