Day Shift (2022)
'Day Shift' is one of those rare modern day vampire movies that manages to expand upon this somewhat tired subgenre. Whilst still sticking loosely with the traditional vampire characteristics we have come to know from across the wide scoping mythology of most cinematic and novel adaptations, it also introduces new and unique concepts that I found to be one of the more interesting aspects of this film. This is done by having particular breeds of vampires all with various different abilities ranging from contortion, rejuvenation and the more elite ones ability to withstand deception. These particular variations and ideas bring something new to the table that prevents this film from feeling stale. The casting is for the most part pretty faultless, with Jamie Foxx in the lead role as Vampire Hunter Bud - a role he plays perfectly. As well as Foxx, there are a wide range of other strong performances, including Peter Stormare, Meagan Good and Natasha Liu Bordizzo. Some of the more questionable performances come from that of Snoop Dogg as Big John, and Eric Lange as Ralph. I think this is more down to the cartoonish nature written for their characters than the actors themselves though. The show stealing performance for me is without doubt Dave Franco and his on screen chemistry with Foxx. Franco is an actor I always enjoy seeing on screen, his comedic timing is impeccable, but what surprised me the most about his performance here is his ability to take on such challenging action sequences. The plot, whilst nicely balancing the contrasting elements of humor and horror, seems very basic considering the wide range of directions and possibilities it could have explored utilising the key elements introduced. Given the ideas presented, especially with the vampire lore and more so the implications of some form of hierarchies and vampire royalty systems in place, I feel it wasted the opportunity to explore these ideas further by choosing a standard run-of-the-mill action movie plot line. That's not to say that it doesn't make for a fun popcorn movie and something that will mostly appeal to a lot of people, not just within the horror community, but creating a more digestible experience to a much wider audience. I tend to find there is a fine line when blending action and horror, too much action and it can quite easily lose me and compromise my viewing. I found 'Day Shift' to be a prime example of when the action overtakes. There is a particular sequence that drew my attention to this issue more than any other moment, the car chase. Eventually the banging, crashing and explosions just become noise, and I found myself drifting into my own thoughts through boredom. It's one thing to have cool action set pieces, yet if it's drawn out and you don't have a fully engaging plot where the stakes feel high, then it just becomes white noise. Whilst some of these action sequences can become tedious, the kills and shear onslaught throughout is undeniably entertaining to watch. Seeing Vampire after Vampire get taking out in some very unique and interesting ways is certainly the stronger side of these sequences. There are a few moments of questionable CGI, but these come and go so quickly that it's not distracting enough to pull you out of the scene. More often than not these scenes are usually accompanied by some form of classic 90's Hip Hop or Rnb from artist such as Tupac, Ice Cube, Ol' Dirty Bastard and obviously Snoop Dogg, all of which set the tone off perfectly. Although not quite combining all of its contrasting tonal and plot elements efficiently and feeling rather underwhelmed by the final confrontation, 'Day Shift' still manages to pull together an entertaining enough popcorn flick that its worth watching for those scrolling streaming services with nothing particular to watch. I certainly think that this is a film that warrants a sequel, if nothing else but to expand upon the excellent mythology set in motion here and to give us more of the very funny budding "cop duo" that started to develop between Foxx and Franco in the last act.