In the final act of Netflix’s new movie Day Shift, a bizarre but very entertaining horror action-comedy, Snoop Dogg (yes, that Snoop Dogg) delivers a line that almost makes the entire movie worthwhile: “That’s the that I love in LA. All the goddamn vampires.”
In addition to the heart, comedy, and fanfare that Snoop brings to the film (despite the limited screen time, his cowboy hat performance really carries the film), his quote harkens back to the vampire film’s history – evoking The Lost Boys – and encapsulates the film’s unique twist on the vampire genre that capitalizes on the grit and commercialism of Los Angeles.
Forget the years of Hollywood resigning vampires to sleepy northwest suburbs, abandoned industrial towns 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 center of a fast-paced plot, which also features a confusing original story (did the vampires create sunscreen to survive the sun? And are they building a real estate empire?), as well as a carousel of characters that many sometimes don’t have enough screen time to build relationships with each other. (Needs. More. Cowboy. Snoop.) Day Shift might have served better as a Netflix series. But the world he sets up within his 1 hour and 53 minute runtime is, honestly, a lot of fun.
In the world of Day Shift – streaming on Netflix now – vampires are nocturnal predators in the San Fernando Valley that hunt, kill and yes, vampirize humans in their bloodlust.
Humans are not just helpless victims, however. Among 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 just for human safety, but with an added incentive. In this world, vampire fangs – the only body part a vampire cannot regrow – are part of a huge black market industry.
But the underground market isn’t the only thing that gives this film a distinctly Californian action movie vibe, like 2011’s Drive or Baz Luhrman’s classic adaptation of Romeo + Juliet.
See Audrey, the suit-clad vampire traitor, played by Karla Souza, who through her real estate deals (read: secret hives for vampires) feels more like a ruthless valley businesswoman than an evil coven leader. . Or Snoop Dogg’s modern denim-and-leather cowboy who is inexplicably so cartoonish that he feels exactly like the kind of person you’d realistically see posted outside a shopping mall in Los Angeles. Even consider the savage bureaucracy of the vampire hunters’ syndicate, which despite its clandestine purpose still hammers Foxx’s character Bud throughout the film with strange statutes and fees that threaten his membership. It all makes for a weird, weird and funny setting that really could be “only in LA”.
Combine that with a sunny visual aesthetic, a killer soundtrack (Snoop Dogg’s hazy rhymes obviously make an appearance) and incredible friend-cop chemistry (err, friend-vampire hunter) between Foxx and Dave Franco, and you’ve got it. a pretty solid way to spend two hours.
While it might not become a critical part of vampire movie canon, at least vampires are in new parts of the world looking for new blood.
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