Netflix’s new vampire hunting film Day shift brings back an old classic: combining action, horror and comedy into a fun, crowd-pleasing package. It helps to have a leading man like Jamie Foxx, and a director like JJ Perry.
First-time director Perry, a veteran stunt performer and action choreographer, brings electrifying action sequences to the film, while Foxx and co-star Dave Franco add the charm. Perry spoke to Polygon about his love for movies that can combine the three genres of action, horror and comedy.
“When you have those three ingredients and implement them perfectly,” he says, “you will always have the upper hand on the audience.”
Perry’s work on the John Wick franchise and his long-standing friendship and working partnership with director Chad Stahelski meant that he began receiving many scripts for his first directorial project. But most of these scripts were laser-focused on traumatic experiences in the military. Perry, a military veteran, was not interested in doing that kind of work.
“People sent me scripts, and they were all darker,” he says. “And because I was in the army, [they were all], Oh, this is about a PTSD guy, with a sniper who has PTSD and Oh, we want you to make a John Wick movieand i was like, Well, I kind of did.”
That changed when Perry learned about it Day shifta film where Foxx’s vampire hunter Bud Jablonski must team up with friends old and new to mend his relationship with the Vampire Hunters’ Union and take down a whole bunch of villains to secure a big score.
“When I got the script [for Day Shift]”, says Perry, “immediately when I read it, I knew right away that this was the one.”
In our chat, Perry mentioned four films that combine action, horror and comedy that he grew up with. These films were in his mind while he was working on Day shift, and you can see the influence in one of Netflix’s best action movies yet. So if you have seen and liked Day shift and want to revisit some classics, here are Perry’s picks.
Big problems in Little China
Buckaroo Banzai director WD Richter rewrote the script to Big problems in Little China, takes it from an 1880s western and turns it into a modern martial arts story. Director John Carpenter’s fourth project with leading man Kurt Russell, this was Carpenter’s only martial arts film – something he had long wanted to do.
While Huge trouble has grown a significant cult following since its release, the poor reception of the film resulted in Carpenter leaving the Hollywood system and returning to making films on his own. Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun and James Hong join Russell in the cast.
Big problems in Little China is available to watch on Hulu.
The Lost Boys
There is much to write about Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boysa dark and funny coming-of-age story that works much like a demented adaptation of Peter Pan. But if I’m going to mention just one thing, it’s the unforgettable performance of Kiefer Sutherland as the villainous David Powers. Aided by the film’s incredible costumes, production design, and hair and makeup, Sutherland’s Powers is an iconic movie villain from an era filled with them.
The Lost Boys is available to watch for free with ads on Tubi, or for digital rental or purchase on VOD platforms.
The wicked died
Arguably the pinnacle of horror comedies, Sam Raimi’s original film in the excellent Evil Dead franchise remarkably balances the tone of wicked humor with the horrors unfolding before your eyes. It’s a masterful feat, and one that feels like no one but Raimi (and his star and vessel, Bruce Campbell) could have accomplished.
The wicked died is available to watch for free with ads on Tubi and Pluto TV, or for digital rental or purchase on VOD platforms.
Tom Holland (no, not that one) is best known for directing the excellent Child’s play, which creates the Chucky series. But his directorial debut was this vampire horror comedy about a young boy who finds out his neighbor is a vampire. What is the boy doing? He finds an actor who played a vampire hunter in movies to stop the vampire, of course.
Horror night is available to watch for free with ads on Pluto TV, or for digital rental or purchase on VOD platforms.