Forget Buffy. In “Day Shift,” Jamie Foxx plays Bud, a San Fernando Valley pool cleaner whose job is a cover for his real occupation: vampire hunter.
“Day Shift” starts streaming on Netflix Friday.
Vampire hunting pays pretty well. It pays a lot better if you’re in the union. Bud’s been suspended because he’s not exactly a by-the-book guy. His mentor, Big John (an amusingly totemic Snoop Dogg), gets him back in — but on condition that Bud work with a partner, Seth (an amusingly fussbudget Dave Franco).
Bud very much prefers going solo. That’s part of his not-by-the-book-ness. He lets Seth ride shotgun — shotguns, the ballistic kind, loom large in “Day Shift” — only because he needs to come up with $10,000 by the beginning of next week. Bud has to get the money to his estranged wife for their 10-year-old’s school tuition and so the kid can get braces. An orthodontia reference in a movie about vampires is one of the few nice touches in “Day Shift.”
That’s the setup. Basically, “Day Shift” is a vehicle for so much violence and gore it makes “Bullet Train” look like “Thomas the Tank Engine.” Beside those shotguns, damage and death are dealt by handgun, semi-automatic weapon, sword, nunchuck, stake, garrote, the occasional piece of furniture, fang, even burial in wet cement. “Day Shift” is a movie for the entire family, assuming the family consists of coroners.
The rare good bits actually make “Day Shift” feel worse. It does have flashes of imagination or at least slyness. The chief vampire is a real-estate agent. (Karla Souza gives a performance that’s like Kate McKinnon only without the restraint.) The vampires’ main hangout is in Simi Valley. Hmm, what famous institution is located in that community, and what notorious trial took place there? A newly-fledged vampire is in a quandary about his dietary requirements, having previously been a pescatarian.
What’s most depressing about “Day Shift” isn’t the violence and gore, per se. It’s how rote they are. The movie equivalent of paint-by-the-numbers, this is shoot-by-the-numbers, stab-by-the-numbers, bleed-by-the-numbers. That insures it’s bore-by-the numbers, too. Jamie Foxx is always interesting to watch. His latest movie isn’t. With “Day Shift,” reach for the garlic, not the remote.
Directed by JJ Perry. Written by Shay Hatten and Tyler Tice. Starring Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Snoop Dog, Karla Souza. Bloodstreaming on Netflix. 111 minutes. R (strong violence — yup, they sure got that right — gore, language).
Mark Feeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.