August 11 — ATLANTA — Vampire hunting movies are a special subgenre of vampire movies. A former US president was even featured in 2012’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
In the case of Netflix’s new action-horror-comedy movie “Day Shift,” the vampire slayers are blue-collar workers who have a union like plumbers and pest control workers.
Jamie Foxx stars as the strangely named protagonist Bud Jablonski, a struggling vampire hunter from the San Fernando Valley who was kicked out of the syndicate for going rogue one too many times. While pool cleaning is cover for him, he actually hunts vampires and removes their fangs to sell on the black market, kind of like poachers killing elephants for their tusks.
Unfortunately, he’s nearly broke and finds out that his ex-wife is moving to Florida with their young daughter in a few days if he can’t scrape together $10,000. So his friend Big John, played with cool swagger by Snoop Dogg, vouches for him to rejoin him in the syndicate so he can go and kill as many vampires as possible to pocket some quick cash.
The compensation? The shady mullet-wearing union boss forces Foxx to work with the irritating, nerdy union rep Seth, played against the guy by Dave Franco. Seth knows the bureaucratic union rules and gory details about vampires, but he can’t shoot a gun.
In other words, this movie is more “Zombieland” than “Django Unchained” or “Get Out.” It’s a pure popcorn movie that relies heavily on fast-paced action scenes and often unscripted retorts between Bud and Seth, the odd couple. Franco at one point makes ridiculous chipmunk noises. There’s a funny moment where the pair argue over the merits of the “Twilight” vampire movies. And when he gets scared, Seth has a bad habit of peeing on himself.
Foxx, in a brief interview with Franco at the Four Seasons in Atlanta last week with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said that as an executive producer and star, he sought out Franco for the role because he could see his verbal and physical prowess.
“Dave would do like six different takes,” said Foxx, who has another Netflix movie in the can called They Cloned Tyrone, also shot in Atlanta. “He’s like Robin Williams in a way. What does he have in the bag?”
“Jamie is truly the most selfless actor I’ve ever worked with,” said Franco, who was last seen playing a stuck-up murdered pop star in Apple TV+’s charming murder mystery “The Afterparty.” “He encouraged me to do my own thing and infuse my own humor…he told me, ‘I’ll follow your lead.’ That opened me up.”
JJ Perry, the first-time director who has stunt credits on movies like “John Wick: Chapter 2” and “The Fate of the Furious,” wanted Snoop Dogg in the film, and Foxx was able to make it happen. “He had never been an action star before,” Foxx said. “He trained with us, getting his hands dirty. He’s got a giant gun, Big Bertha, slashing vampires.”
Franco said that Perry really rose to the occasion for the fight scenes. “In doing those action sequences, there was a palpable energy,” he said. “Before every take, all of his crew in unison were yelling ‘Ahhhh!'”
Outdoor scenes, including a long car chase, were shot in Los Angeles. All of the interior scenes involving vampire battles last year were set in the cavernous OFS warehouse in Norcross, near I-85, or in the bowels of Gwinnett Place Mall, which was closed when the movie arrived in spring 2021. .
The art department also built a fake marquee outside the mall set in 1987, when the mall was supposedly abandoned, with the vampire movie “The Lost Boys” included. A photo of the marquee that was taken by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time went viral, many people thought the photo was taken in 1987. In the movie itself, the marquee is seen for only a couple of seconds near the end of the movie as the “Day Shift” heroes enter the mall to save Bud’s family.
Will Carpenter is the arts and entertainment/features reporter for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 307-633-3135. Follow him on Twitter @will_carp_.