If you need your pool cleaned, Bud Jablonski is the guy to call. And if you need him to take out a vampire or two, well, he’s game for that as well.
Because really, the pool cleaning business is just a front for Bud’s actual job—exterminating vampires in the San Fernando Valley area. They’re a pesky breed of undead human, but if you can bag the fangs of the more valuable vampires, they sell for quite a hefty sum.
Unfortunately for Bud, the Fang Index has been catastrophically low lately, and his normal fang haul isn’t selling for what it used to. That’s especially bad news, because Bud’s ex-wife is threatening to take his daughter away with her to Florida. That is, unless he can’t scramble a whopping $10,000 together by next week to pay for his daughter’s hefty school tuition and much-needed braces.
That leaves Bud with one option: sell his fangs at the vampire hunter union, where prices are greater and more stable. Only problem is, Bud’s violated so many union codes that he’s only got one final chance to prove himself before they ban him for life—and if he violates any more codes while out on shift, there’s no way he’ll be able to raise the money he needs.
With the treasure-filled castles of the Draculas a bygone era, Bud will have to either play by the union’s book or risk never seeing his daughter again.
Bud has a good relationship with his daughter, and his actions reflect his desire to keep her close so that they can continue their father-daughter relationship.
Bud also shows patience with Seth, a terrified union accountant who’s been sent to accompany him on his missions. Seth has never been out in the field, and his lack of experience leaves Bud feeling more like a babysitter than anything else. However, Bud helps to comfort Seth when he soils himself during his first mission, and he offers advice to the rookie on multiple occasions. Though the two come from different lines of work, they find a mutual understanding.
Vampire hunters put their lives on the line to kill the threats to humanity (though some of them, like Bud, are obviously more in it for the paycheck).
A vampire says that humans used to worship them like gods, building temples of blood and bone to them (and a man counters that vampires are just genetic mutations, not gods). A vampire calls a place “sacred ground,” and we see an old ritual temple. A vampire says “the devil comes for everyone.”
Bud has a violation from the union for using “holy water not from a union-sanctioned church” and because his holy water was apparently expired. A man wears cross earrings.
A song references Heaven.
Bud showers, though nothing is seen. Bud’s ex-wife, Joss, wears tight, revealing clothing. Joss and Bud reference an adult film actress who lives near Bud. Bud tells Seth to not get a cleaning substance in his rear. Bud is kissed on the cheek.
A song references unprotected sex.
Vampire slaying comes with a whole lot of violence, and viewers should buckle up for the gory ride on which this movie takes them.
Hunters use guns, blades and stakes to kill the undead predators. One famous hunter uses a machine gun to kill dozens of vampires. Others use shotguns and tomahawks, blasting visible holes through the undead beings. If the vampire survives the hit, we’ll also see their bodies visibly stitching themselves back together. That’s why hunters typically finish the job by decapitating the vampires, and believe me, heads go flying in this flick, so viewers should be prepared to see many headless corpses and bodiless heads. One vampire’s head is split in two by a sword.
But the vampires can escape a whole lot of otherwise lethal attacks, mostly due to their ability to twist and contort their bodies in unnatural ways, which may be disturbing to some viewers. One vampire is tortured by being chained outside in the sun (which burns its skin) and buried in cement. Other vampires have their arms torn off, and one poor sap is even beaten with his own severed arm. Other vampires die in explosions, and cars crash. A person has a piece of their neck torn off. Vampires bite at still-living cats.
But it’s not just vampires who are getting hurt or killed. A man is pinned down via a knife stuck through his hand, and he is tortured and killed. We later find that his teeth have been forcefully removed and used to spell a name. Bud pulls a long piece of broken glass out of his shoulder. A dead rodent is seen drowned in a pool.
The f-word is used around 20 times (six of them preceded by “mother”), and the s-word is heard nearly 50 times. “A–” is used extensively, and we also hear many instances of “b–ch,” “d–n” and “p-ss.” “H—” is heard nearly a dozen times, and someone says “go to hell.” “D-ck is used once, and characters display their middle fingers. “B–tard” is used twice in Spanish.
God’s name is misused nearly a dozen times, and five of those are in the form of “g-dd–n.” Jesus’ name is inappropriately used four times, and one of those is in the form of “jeez.”
Beer cans are seen resting on the bottom of a pool. Various people are seen smoking. Bud references his mother-in-law’s drinking problem.
Various songs reference beer, whisky and drugs.
Bud says “minimal white women” has helped to make him a better man. A man exclaims “hair on your nipples” after drinking Pepto Bismol. A vampire vomits. A character is given a blood bag from which to drink.
A man spits his gum into his brother’s mouth. Seth tells someone stealing his food that he’s going to flatulate in his yogurt for her to eat. We also see Seth vomit and wet himself (the latter occurring twice). Seth asks Bud to check to see if Seth defecated himself.
Day Shift is J.J. Perry’s directorial debut, and it’s almost immediately obvious that the famous stunt coordinator, known for his work in films like John Wick, The Fate of the Furious and Gemini Man is in his element.
As Bud slaughters his way through the vampiric masses, the choreographed stunts take us for a violent, bloody ride. Unfortunately, vampires aren’t the easiest bunch to kill, so it often takes Bud and the other vampire hunters a bit of graphic ingenuity to finish the job. This ingenuity often results in the same end result: heads fly, and Bud collects his paycheck.
As you may have guessed, violence will be the primary concern for viewers thinking about checking out this undead thriller, instances of which are too numerous to flesh out (pun intended) in this review’s conclusion. And if violence isn’t a big deal for you, the heavy amount of swearing just might be.
We would never expect vampire slaying to be the cleanest job—after all, any job title that ends in hunter is bound to be a bit messy (House Hunters notwithstanding). But this flick may be a bit too gory for viewers to want to sink their fangs into.
Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. His favorite movie is La La Land.