Ending Explained is a recurring column in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. This time, we consider the ending of the new Netflix action comedy Day Shift. Yes, prepare for spoilers.
Any way you slice it, J.J. Perry’s Day Shift is not your average vampire movie. This is a fact that rings true until its final shot. The film follows Bud (Jamie Foxx), a down-on-his-luck fella who harvests vampire fangs for cash.
Bud’s day job becomes a little complicated when he finds out that his ex-wife is planning to move their young daughter out of state if he can’t cough up $10k for her private school over the weekend. Faced with this problem, Bud realizes that his potentially lucrative (and very dangerous) profession is the one thing standing between his family being together or miles apart. So he quickly scrambles to get back into the union that kicked him out after he disgraced himself so that he can sell his findings for a larger chunk of cash.
The union reluctantly allows him back in – but only if straight-laced office worker Seth (Dave Franco) keeps a close eye on him while he’s out doing his business. So the odd couple goes about their killing business. Things are going relatively well until they run into an angry vampire named Audrey (Karla Souza), who is out for vengeance because Bud unknowingly killed her blood-sucking daughter. To up the stakes (pun intended), Audrey and her gang get ahold of Bud’s ex-wife Jocelyn (Meagan Good) and their young daughter. But after several close-calls and a tense final showdown, Bud ends up outsmarting Audrey with a razor wire trap and therefore saving his family from becoming creatures of the night.
Bud and co. don’t get away totally unharmed, however. Bud’s friend and mentor, Big John Elliott (Snoop Dogg), heroically sacrifices himself with a bomb vest to save Bud’s family; meanwhile, Seth gets turned into a vampire. Despite this, Day Shift ends on an unquestionably optimistic note. Even though Seth is now a vampire, he is also still committed to being Bud’s friend – even if that means carrying his own head around.
Perhaps the most heartwarming moment in the ending of Day Shift, however, is the final shot which reveals that Big John is actually still alive. He climbs out of a street grate, smoking a joint, seemingly totally unbothered about what he just went through underground. He then lights another joint, says, “That’s what I love about L.A., all the damn vampires,” and then he walks off into the night. (For those keeping track, that essentially nods to the endings of both 1986’s Vamp and 1987’s The Lost Boys.)
This final line not only allows Day Shift to end in a positive light but also sets the film up for a sequel. It gives us two possibilities for the future of Big John. Either he had a near-death encounter and returned to battle more vampires, or he survived the blast because he is actually a vampire. Who knows – maybe he is “El Jefe,” the infamous vampire that, according to Seth, is 700 years old and is a Los Angeles druglord. We never see him, but he is apparently the most formidable vampire of them all. Either way, John’s final line reminds us that even though the gang got rid of Audrey and her cronies, there are still a lot more where she came from, especially as the most dangerous is still out there. Plus, we already know that Audrey was intentionally breeding a ton of new vampires in the Valley because she was worried that the vampire population was getting too low.
Now that Bud is officially in the union and Seth has climbed out of his shell and realized that he actually likes vampire hunting, too, a potential sequel might see the three joining forces and becoming something of a vampire-hunting trio.
The ending isn’t just happy for the three on a career level, though. Now that Bud’s wife finally found out what he really does as his day job, the two are able to finally start putting everything on the table and getting through the issues that caused them to separate in the first place. Although they haven’t agreed to officially get back together just yet, Jocelyn flirtily tells Bud that she’s happy to start getting to know him again, and the two drive off with their daughter.
When all is said and done, the real message of Day Shift is that family is more important than anything, and love will persevere when the going gets tough. Bud and his family were faced with a literal gang of bloodthirsty vampires, but in the end, they came out on top and stronger than ever before. The same goes for the friendship between Bud and Seth – the two are obviously an unlikely pair at first, but in the end, their relationship has clearly become one that will last a lifetime – even though one of them is a vampire.
There’s no telling whether Day Shift will have a sequel or not, but if it does, it’s a fair assumption that the inevitable face-off included will be even more intense than it is in the first installment. Not only can we predict that the vampires are going to be even stronger given Big John’s final statement on just how many vampires reside in L.A., but we also know that their opposing team – Bud, Seth, and Big John – are a vampire hunting force to be reckoned with.