Saturday, October 22, 2022

Movie Reviews: Day Shift

Day Shift
directed by J.J. Perry

There are more than a few books that feature mercenary minded heroes who make their living by hunting, trapping, and killing supernatural creatures. The authors A. Lee Martinez, Mike Carey, and Larry Correia are the first people to come to mind but if I gave it some thought I know could think of many more. 

There have also been movies with such themes. Some have worked. Some have not. I think It's difficult to mix horror, action, comedy and a world weary cynical point of view in which destroying the supernatural is just another day at the office. Shaun of the Dead and The Dead Don't Die were two such films that blended humor and real fear successfully.

I think such stories tend to work better as novels than as movies. Day Shift's problem was that it underplayed the horror in favor of the humor even though the humor was at best hit or miss. Mostly miss actually.

I think the stories with this premise that work tend to give the viewer or reader some sense (even an occasional one) that the hero is or can be in real danger as well as an indication that what we (and by extension the characters) are seeing isn't explainable by the rules of physics, chemistry, biology. 

Day Shift skipped all of that to overemphasize style, special effects, chase scenes, and fights. The last were REALLY good because the director is a martial artist and former stuntman but if you don't care about the characters or aren't creeped out by the monsters, does it really matter?

Bud Jablonski (Jamie Foxx) is a divorced Los Angeles father who has a cover job as a pool cleaner. His real job is that he hunts vampires during the day. Bud is motivated by money. People pay for vampire fangs.

Bud was in the union but his disregard for rules and bosses got him expelled. When the sanguine Bud has a dispute with his ex (Meagan Goode) about family relocation he must earn more to keep her and daughter in the state. 

This means asking his phlegmatic friend and fellow hunter Big John (Snoop Dogg) to convince the choleric union boss Ralph (Eric Lange) to restore Bud's union bona fides so he can benefit from the higher union pay scale. 

Ralph reluctantly agrees but only if melancholic rookie hunter and union rep Seth (Dave Franco) tags along to verify that Bud is following regulations. Ralph fervently wants Seth to find cause to permanently fire Bud.

 Bud has attracted the negative attention of the Vampire Queen Audrey (Karla Souza), who has a personal motive for harming Bud, his wife, and their daughter (Zion Broadnax). Everyone looks cool but this wasn't a satisfying movie.