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'Day Shift' Review: Jamie Foxx, Vampire Slayer? Only in LA

Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg and Dave Franco are vampire slayers in a Netflix flick that's fast, fun and confusing, but above all else, fresh.

Brian Rosenzweig Editorial Intern
Brian is an editorial intern focusing on home entertainment and general news assignments. Brian is a rising senior studying journalism and English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Despite the whole two-majors-in-writing thing, he's struggling to come up with a third sentence for this bio.
Brian Rosenzweig
3 min read
Jamie Foxx in a loud shirt and Snoop Dogg in cowboy clothes and hat lounge against a car in front of a sunny blue Los Angeles sky.

Fearless vampire killers.

Andrew Cooper/Netflix

In the final act of the new Netflix film Day Shift, a bizarre yet really fun buddy-action-horror-comedy, Snoop Dogg (yes, that Snoop Dogg) delivers a line that just about makes the entire movie worth it: "That's what I love about LA. All the damn vampires."

Aside from the heart, comedy and fanfare that Snoop brings to the film (despite limited screen time, his cowboy-hatted performance truly carries the movie), his quote both harks back to vampire movie history -- evoking The Lost Boys -- and encapsulates the film's unique twist on the vampire genre, which takes advantage of the grit and commercialism of Los Angeles.

Forget the years of Hollywood consigning vampires to sleepy Northwestern suburbs, abandoned factory cities, and German coastal towns; for Day Shift, Hollywood looks inward, recognizing the power of a city known for being parasitic as a setting where vampires come out to play.

It's perhaps the best part of a movie that unfortunately could be accused of doing too much otherwise. Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco are at the heart of a fast-moving plot, which also throws in confusing original lore (the vampires created a sunscreen to survive in the sun? And they're building a real estate empire?), plus a carousel of characters who often don't get enough screen time to build relationships with one another. (Need. More. Cowboy. Snoop.) Day Shift perhaps would've served better as a Netflix series. But the world it does establish within its 1 hour and 53 minute run time is one that's, honestly, really fun.

In the world of Day Shift, which is streaming on Netflix now, vampires are nocturnal predators in the San Fernando Valley who hunt, kill and yes, vampirify humans in their thirst for blood.

Humans aren't just helpless victims, though. Enter vampire hunters, a pseudo-underground network of trained professionals who hunt and kill vampires by any means necessary -- most commonly through the classic method of decapitation -- not only for human safety, but with an added incentive. In this world, vampire fangs, the one body part a vampire can't regenerate, are part of a huge black market industry.

But the shifty underground market isn't the only thing that gives this movie a gritty, distinctly Californian action movie vibe, like 2011's Drive or Baz Luhrman's classic Romeo + Juliet adaptation.

Take pantsuit-clad vampire kingpin Audrey, played by Karla Souza, who through her real estate deals (read: secret hives for vampires) feels more like a cutthroat valley business woman than an evil coven leader. Or Snoop Dogg's denim-and-leather-suited modern-day cowboy who's inexplicably so cartoonish that he feels exactly like the kind of person you'd realistically see posted up outside of a strip mall in Los Angeles. Consider even the wild bureaucracy of the vampire hunter union, which despite its clandestine purpose still hammers Foxx's character, Bud, throughout the movie with strange bylaws and fees that threaten his membership. All of it contributes to a weird, outlandish and funny concoction that truly could be "only in LA."

Combine that with a sun-soaked visual aesthetic, a pretty-killer soundtrack (Snoop Dogg's hazy rhymes obviously make an appearance), and some amazing buddy-cop (er, buddy-vampire hunter) chemistry between Foxx and Franco, and you've got a pretty solid way to spend two hours.

Though it might not become a critical part of the vampire movie canon, at least the vampires are out in new parts of the world, searching for new blood.

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