Jamie Foxx hunts vampires in comedy ‘Day Shift’


This year marks the centennial anniversary of FW Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” a long time for us humans but only a blip for vampires.

If you were looking to celebrate the birthday of that silent classic, which still casts a long and ominous shadow over all vampires films that have followed, you could do it with what’s perhaps its exact opposite: the new Netflix action-comedy “Day Shift, with Jamie Foxx as a San Fernando Valley vampire hunter.

“Day Shift,” which begins streaming Friday, has aims much closer to something like “Zombieland” than Murnau. Foxx plays Bud Jablonski, a working-class Los Angeles man and divorced father who cleans pools as a cover for his real job of hunting vampires. They seem to be especially populous in the San Fernando Valley, which may not be surprising to Californians but is about as far a departure you can get from the aristocratic, European origins of the genre. Plus, “What We Do in the Shadows ” already has Staten Island covered.

“Day Shift” isn’t much interested in vampires, anyway. They’re mostly videogame-like cannon fodder for Bud, a veteran hunter who’s quite good at killing them but significantly worse at hiding his real occupation. He’s living on his own after his wife (Meagan Good), suspicious of his excuses, kicked him out. Now, she’s ready to move, with their 10-year-old daughter (Zion Broadnax), far away from Los Angeles unless Bud can come up with $10,000 in a week for school tuition and braces.

But Bud is living fang to fang. He gets his money selling vampire teeth to what’s effectively a pawn shop. He drives a turquoise pick-up and lives, with locks up and down the door, in a seedy apartment complex that appalls his ex. She hears a porn star has just moved in. “They live amongst us,” Bud explains.

“Day Shift,” the directorial debut of former stuntman JJ Perry and written by Tyler Tice and “Army of the Dead” scribe Shay Hatten, has placed a familiar tale — a down-and-out single father trying to prove his worth — into a vampire movie. There’s also a labor commentary somewhere in here with Bud, kicked out of the vampire hunter union, trying to get back in to secure higher rates for his kills.

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