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Daybreakers

A 2010 vampire film written and directed by Peter and Michael Spierig.

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Got Blood?

  • Jan 17, 2010
Rating:
+4
The year is 2019. Vampires make up most of the world's population, humanity having been transformed after from an epidemic that started ten years earlier. Any remaining humans are hunted and, if caught, are taken to corporations that harvest their blood. These corporations need all the help they can get; because so few humans are left, blood is in short supply, and when a vampire has no access to human blood, they mutate into violent winged beasts with virtually no mental capabilities. Pharmaceutical companies, like the one run by Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), have been trying to develop a synthetic blood substitute with little to no success. Bromley's chief hematologist, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), is well aware that if humans go extinct, vampires will suffer the same fate. It's not about creating a substitute - it's about finding a cure.

"Daybreakers" will never be considered a great film, but as a futuristic vampire thriller, it holds its own and manages to be entertaining. I admit, though, that I didn't get much out of the action or the gore, both of which are plentiful during the last ten minutes. It just felt so pedestrian, so derivative, so detracting from the intriguing plot, which is essentially a fable about overpopulation, the exploitation and wasting of natural resources, and the idea that many find complacency easier than working towards change.

Before long, Edward meets Audrey (Claudia Karvan), a surviving human and the leader of a resistance movement dedicated to finding that elusive vampire cure. Success depends on Edward, who in turn depends on a wisecracking, car-loving group member named Lionel Cormac, a.k.a. Elvis (Willem Defoe). Why he depends on him, I leave to you to find out. Let it suffice to say that Elvis knows a thing or two about vampires. Anyway, this resistance is mostly human, but a few non-humans are also taking part, and I find this fascinating.

Subplots involving Edward's brother, Frankie (Michael Dorman), and Bromley's still-human daughter, Alison (Isabel Lucas), add some emotional weight. Frankie in particular is a complex character, torn between his life as a vampire soldier and his love for Edward, which probably hasn't been expressed in quite some time. Convention requires that Frankie remains angry and distant until right before the end of the film, at which point he finally shows his true feelings for his brother. Yes, convention requires, but it works just the same. As for Alison, she isn't given as much screen time, although I think we learn everything we need to know, especially during those tense couple of scenes involving her father. Indeed, it is an experience having a conversation with him; everything about him suggests deceit and menace, from his perpetually sinister tone of voice to his piercing eyes, which you'd swear could turn you to stone.

When it comes to supporting players, the real disappointment is Audrey. While certainly not a bad character, she is an unnecessary one, adding so little to the story that it seems she was included only out of necessity for a sidekick. Surely you know that all movies like this have sidekicks. Elvis is a little better, but not much; his jokey dialogue is unbelievably bad, and it's made worse by an exaggerated Southern accent that does little more than reinforce a stereotype. It's a good thing this character is vital to the plot. Otherwise, I suspect he'd get tiresome much earlier on, like during his first scene.

To be fair, most of the movie works just fine. Hawke and Neill give decent performances - about as decent as a vampire film will let them be, anyway. I also enjoyed the visuals; in this future world, vampires have been clever to develop high tech methods of avoiding exposure to the sun, such as underground walkways and cars equipped with UV-blocking panels (they have to rely on projected camera images to see the road). In the absence of sunlight, their world is a drab, muted landscape of blue and gray tones.

Here's the bottom line: "Daybreakers" is an adequate movie, a fun way to spend nearly 100 minutes away from home. But given the fact that it's also a fable, I guess I was hoping it would go a little farther. Maybe it's gotten to the point where elaborate fight scenes and messy shots of exploding vampires should no longer be obligatory. Writers/directors Michael and Peter Spierig should have delved deeper into the allegory. What more could have been drawn from the world we live in today? What about the economy? Class? Education? Government? The last one especially, since it's safe to assume there was a functioning system before the vampire epidemic and that it was drastically altered afterwards. And it must have a hand in both the harvesting of blood and the funding of its synthetic substitute. Too bad none of this is explored.

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More Daybreakers reviews
review by . January 05, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
A good movie, but not as good as I was expecting.
Ok so if you read my Quick tip  you know that from the get go I’ve wanted to see this movie it looked very cool and I love the premise it’s looked very interesting and different. Unfortunately I never got to see this in theaters but I eventually found it on DVD. (HMV FTW)          Daybreakers concerns a world where 90% of the population are vampires, the remaining humans are either given a choice to be turned or be hunted for their blood. …
review by . February 28, 2011
posted in SF Signal
Daybreakers is a movie with Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill and Willem Defoe      It's the near future. A rapidly dwindling resource is causing increasing disruptions to society, with the have-nots suffering from increasing disruptions of a supply that once seemed infinite, but now is proving all too fragile. The creation of substitutes is big business but there are those who want the original, and the substitutes are not working as well as one might hope. Society is unraveling on …
review by . January 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
                    We’ve all seen movies that portray vampires as seductive bloodsuckers, savagely feral creatures, zombie-like interpretations, martial arts vampires, and even love-sick ones. One may argue that the vampire genre is running out of ideas. Movies have to tried to reinvent the genre in different ways; now writer/directors Peter and Michael Spierig takes another stab at making something …
review by . July 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
EASY 5 STARS FOR THE DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASE
      DAYBREAKERS      You know vampires have become a huge thing again which I guess makes me happy since I love them. The thing is, for the most part it is not the vampires I like, today's vampires seem to be all in love and twinkle in the sunlight. What ever happened to the guys that were evil and would um let's say burn in the sunlight. Well let me stop being so one dimensional since I tend to think I am all for something new. With that said there …
review by . March 25, 2011
As soon as the trailer was released for Daybreakers I eagerly anticipated it's release. I was not sure what to expect, however the trailer caught my attention in a way that left me always wanting to search for more footage and featurettes online. Two hours after entering the theater I exited both happy with the final film and disgusted by the simple fact that anyone could come up with such a film. It was a pornography of blood, guts and gore with such graphic cinematography that not only could …
review by . May 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is a reluctant vampire in a world where humans have become rare. It's a clever idea: if there really were vampires and they could spread like a virus, why wouldn't they soon run the world rather than slink around in shadows? It turns out this film shows exactly why, if they're smart, vampires would stay out of sight and wouldn't want to spread. Vampires do rule the world in this film, and human beings are the ones who have to creep about during the day, hidden as best …
review by . February 18, 2010
Daybreakers breaks the mold of traditonal vampire flicks.....
Science Fiction has set bold new standards for films all across the board from action to romance, crime to comedy,  it wasn't until 1982 that  one of cinema's oldest genres, film noir was blended to create a  whole new sub genre in the Science Fiction world, Sci-Fi noir and the two films pioneered this sub genre were Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Alex Proyas' "Dark City", they pushed the bar for film making  and propelled this young genre into new heights …
review by . April 30, 2010
Set in the future, Vampires rule and have toppled man. They have made the world fit their needs but they have turned so many that the problem is they have exhausted the human blood supply and now the poorer Vampires are turning into monsters while our reluctant hero works on a blood substitute.     Such a promising beginning in a visual setting. Enter the human resistance and things are still o.k. but start sliding downhill and all of a sudden it happens and the movie looses …
review by . April 06, 2010
 This was a film I went to see not really expecting that much. If anything I expected it to fit in with the typically bland trend of Vampire movies that seem to be growing in quantity in recent years. Daybreakers, however, adds something new to the agenda while taking advantage of the growing trend that has swept the Western world. Ethan Hawke is an actor with a very familiar name, but is someone you don't see very frequently on the big screen. Possibly his biggest role in the movie Training …
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
Another vampire flick amongst many others. The story is different and thats all it offers.
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #2
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Daybreakers is a 2010 science fiction horror film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. The film takes place in 2019, where a plague has turned most of the planet's human population into vampires. A vampiric corporation sets out to capture and farm the remaining humans while researching a blood substitute. Lead vampire hematologist Edward Dalton's (Ethan Hawke) work is interrupted by human survivors led by former vampire "Elvis" (Willem Dafoe), who has a cure that can save the human race.

Daybreakers premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the United Kingdom on 6 January 2010 and in North America on 8 January 2010. The film grossed over $40,000,000 and received a mixed critical reception.

The Plot

By 2019, a pandemic disease has turned most of the world's human population into vampires. As human numbers dwindle, the need for blood becomes desperate. When deprived of blood for extended periods, vampires degenerate into subsiders, aggressive bat-like creatures. Humans are captured and harvested in laboratory farms while scientists research a synthetic blood substitute to satisfy vampires' blood hunger. The main supplier of blood in the United States is the pharmaceutical company Bromley Marks, run by Charles Bromley (Sam Neill). Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) and Chris Caruso (Vince Colosimo) are hematologists working on the blood ...

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Details

Genre: Horror
Release Date: 8 January 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 98 min.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
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