Day Shift (2022)

Posted in Reviews by - November 11, 2022
Day Shift (2022)

Hollywood stunt coordinator, J.J. Perry, makes his directorial debut with a Netflix action horror – the sort of popcorn movie that used to be shown in cinemas. The always-affable Jamie Foxx plays a vampire hunter disguised as a pool cleaner who rides his beaten-up truck around a woozy, sun-drenched and garish vision of Los Angeles, collecting fangs to pay the bills. When his estranged wife and daughter are strapped for cash, he decides to go straight and join the official vampire hunters union – a bureaucratic nightmare run like a government department full of jobsworths, protocol and paperwork. This glimpse into a secretive side of society, albeit one still heavily regulated, is reminiscent of John Wick‘s alternate reality (Perry is an original member of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch’s 87eleven Action Design, and stunt coordinator on John Wick: Chapter 2). It is through the union that we learn how vampires have apparently been living with humans for hundreds of years. Unlike the John Wick series, however, this doesn’t get too bogged down in the need to build a wider cinematic universe, even if the script is littered with extraneous details; like how vampires can’t live without their fangs, there are five main types, and they emit a gas when they die. It’s the sort of information that makes you wonder whether we’re supposed to be taking notes. Dave Franco gets the funniest lines and the best character arc as Seth, a union rep’ who must follow Foxx during the supposedly benign day shift, when vampires are meant to be less troublesome. Seth has no experience in the field, and as the beta-male to Foxx’s alpha-male, he gets so scared during his first field trip that he pisses in his favourite suit. Soon, the pair are being targeted by an evil, enterprising real estate vamp looking to take revenge for the death of her possessed daughter. The film follows a rich tradition of vampire action movies, from Buffy to Blade, in which the monsters are shown to be viciously aggressive fighters – sprinting, spinning and contorting before hitting the deck in increasingly grisly, explosive, head-splitting fashion. This is where J.J. Perry’s love for the macabre and knowledge of practical stunts combine beautifully. Although the film contains visual effects, a surprising amount of the action feels natural and grounded, with a good mixture of gun fu, bike and car chases, body horror and contortionists, wire-work, falls and martial arts. A good supporting cast continue the sense of tongue-in-cheek fun, from the inimitable Snoop Dogg as Foxx’s ex-army buddy, to Scott Adkins and Steve Howey as eastern Europe’s premier vampire hunters, the Nazarian Brothers. With its potent mix of action, horror, and comedy, it seems J.J. Perry has now similarly followed his stunt peers Stahelski, Leitch, and Sam Hargrave into the directing chair like an absolute natural.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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