This action-horror-comedy was directed by J.J. Perry and was written by Tyler Tice & Shay Hatten. It stars Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Snoop Dogg, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Meagon Good, Karla Souza, Steve Howey and Scott Adkins.
Bud Jablonski (Foxx) pretends to be a San Fernando Valley pool cleaner, but he is actually a vampire hunter. He earns his living by selling the teeth he extracts from the vampires he kills. Bud is currently a freelance hunter of vampires, but he really needs to make more money so that his ex-wife doesn’t move to Florida with his daughter. In order to pay for his daughter’s expensive school bills, Bud must go back to the vampire-hunting union that had kicked him out previously, because of his unorthodox hunting style that broke many of the union’s protocols.
Bud does get another chance to work with the union… but he is forced to work the day shift (which doesn’t pay as much) and he must also team-up with a strait-laced union rep called Seth (Franco).
To make matters worse, Bud has made an enemy of top vampire (and real estate entrepreneur) Audrey San Fernando (Souza), after he kills an aged female vampire that turns out to be Audrey’s daughter. Audrey swears revenge and sets her sights on Bud’s family…
This sun-drenched, big & bright Netflix movie looks good, never drags, and has cool fight choreography. Some of the ways the vampires contort themselves during skirmishes are pretty novel and there are some fairly inventive kills!
I think the vampire-hunting union office in DAY SHIFT is an okay idea too, and I’m sure it was a world-building attempt to create a vampire-killing version of the hitmen organisation seen in the JOHN WICK films.
Snoop Dogg, playing a cool colleague of Bud’s called Big John Elliott, is not the greatest thespian ever, but he’s fun to watch when he’s on-screen. And I did really like Big Bertha: his lethal mini-gun!
Martial arts star Scott Adkins is good in a one-off action sequence, playing top vampire hunter Diran Nazarian. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I reckon I would rather have seen a movie about him and his brother Mike (Howey): they are great!
Within the mythos of DAY WATCH, there are different types of vampire, which are described and shown in the movie, but I must admit that I couldn’t really see what the differences were between most of them during the various action scenes.
The idea of ‘good vampires’, who choose to help out humans, is suddenly introduced later on in the story, without the concept being talked about previously, and I think this is an odd plot choice. During most of DAY SHIFT’s running time it seems that victims just become evil bloodsuckers if they are turned… and then, out of nowhere… characters can choose to be helpful to Bud!
The finale, involving main vamp Audrey kidnapping Bud’s family, is really rather weak, unfortunately. It’s the kind of ending we’ve seen in countless action movies before and it just lacks logic: why doesn’t Audrey just vampirize Bud’s daughter straight away, rather than keep her alive so that the hero dad can manage to save her? This finale is set in a large, pretty impressive, hidden Mayan-type temple, but the location isn’t really utilised in the action as much as I think it should have been. Shame.
Karla Souza, as villainess Audrey San Fernando, is okay, but I actually thought her main henchman Klaus, played by German actor Oliver Masucci, had a better look and old-school vampire vibe.
DAY SHIFT is colourful, forgettable fun.