Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco aren’t enough to elevate this straightforward vampire flick.
As streamers continue to reel from the recent plummet of their stocks driven by lagging growth in subscriber numbers, they are reevaluating what they create and release on their services. Going forward, Netflix will lower the volume of original films they release and focus on quality. And with today’s release of Day Shift, they have launched a $100M original film that is exactly the kind of programming that can be filed under the category of “Another Massively Budgeted Streaming-Only Film that Won’t Bring in Any New Subscribers.” Day Shift is not necessarily bad, but it’s certainly another perplexing greenlight for a massively budgeted, streaming-only film that fails to leave any kind of lasting impact.
Taking place in the San Fernando Valley where Jamie Foxx plays a pool cleaner who is actually a vampire hunter looking to make money by any means, but primarily by exterminating the creatures of the night and take their remains to a pawn shop. But when Foxx’s character finds himself in a situation where he needs to raise enough money to ensure his ex-wife doesn’t take his daughter to Florida, he seeks to make amends by rejoining a union that hunts vampires. Accepted back in for one last chance, Foxx’s character is given a supervisor played by Dave Franco.
As you can imagine, with a union of vampire hunters, there’s a whole world of vampire stuff worth exploring in Day Shift. But beneath the film’s surface, there’s nothing imaginative that already hasn’t been seen in other films or shows. And on top of that, most of the comedy lacks consistency, outside a few moments from Franco’s character. You would think the combination of Foxx and Franco, two prolific actors who usually delivered plenty of laughs to any comedy in which they appear, would make for some great chemistry. But alas, the script is not strong enough to fully take advantage of what should be a great comedy pairing, and their bits with one another suffer as a result. One chase sequence in the middle of the film is well-coordinated, thrilling, which makes one wonder how the rest of the film would have been had the other action set pieces were this good. Sadly, the scenes involving the slaying of vampires–the centerpiece of the film–are average at best.
Day Shift won’t be among the worst films you’ll see this year. But it’s one most people likely will forget before the weekend is out, even if they have just watched it on Netflix. Day Shift is Exhibit A for how the streamer should evaluate which films they greenlight going forward. As someone who very much enjoyed the biggest-ever film from this streamer last month, I look forward to seeing how they retool their original features after shifting their focus to quality over quantity. Because when it comes to films like Day Shift, these quickly forgotten films can best be compared to teeth marks from a shallow bite; they quietly make a bit of a mark but then quickly go away.