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Daybreakers

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

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"LIFE is a B!+*h ....When you Don't DIE!"

  • Jan 9, 2010
Rating:
+4
              A subsider in "Daybreakers."

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 fresh with ‘DAYBREAKERS”. The film is a dark look at a futuristic world after society has become dominated by the undead. The film isn’t as much as a horror film than it is a dark fantasy film based on vampire lore. This future as seen as the Spierig brothers is quite interesting and while I have to freely say that it is not for everyone, I have to commend it for its attempts at a fresh look on ‘vampire society’; hell, the bloodsuckers aren’t so different from mere mortals after all.
 
2019. The world is now populated by vampires and humans are farmed to be used as food to the point of extinction. There are more vampires than ever since they are immortal, most are being turned for survival and the very small human populace cannot support the new dominant species. To avoid extinction, a pharmaceutical company led by Charles Bromley (Sam Neil) is seeking to find an alternative to human blood with researcher, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) desperate to find answers. Dalton is frowned upon as a “sympathizer” and he works diligently to find a blood substitute so that humans will no longer be prey. Apparently, vampires turn into creatures that they have to call “subsiders” without the consumption of human blood. These “SUBSIDERS” are more feral, bat-like, ugly mindless evolutions of vampires; they are stronger and dangerous. The feeding by vampires on their own blood also causes this change. Through a stroke of fate, Dalton encounters a group of humans who had gone underground led by a beautiful woman called Audrey Bennett (Claudia Karvan) and he forms an uneasy alliance with them. The humans say that they may have found a cure in the persona of “Elvis” (Willem Dafoe). But most vampires LIKE being a vampire…

             Sam Neill as Charles Bromley in "Daybreakers."

                               Isabel Lucas as Alison Bromley in "Daybreakers."

                Ethan Hawke as Edward Dalton in "Daybreakers."
 
The world of 2019 in “Daybreakers” isn’t so much different from what we see today. This world moves during nighttime, as the vampire population go about their business and daily routines; they go to work, go home, relax as they maintain the semblance of their human lives. Day becomes night and night becomes day to our bloodsuckers. You see kids going to school during sundown and they have the same vices; yes, there are kids smoking, after all, what is the toxic effects of a cigarette to an immortal? The funny thing is, these kids will probably be kids forever. The origins of the vampire gene is revealed in the opening credits as something viral that came from a bat. There is nothing occult or supernatural to this film’s vampires; they simply became sick. There is some science to the film, the vampires have their own bio-chemists and they believe synthesizing a blood substitute is the answer. (Tru Blood anyone?) The only threat to the vampires is the epidemic of another form called “Subsiders” which is the result of starvation or the lack of the consumption of human blood.

           Ethan Hawke as Edward in "Daybreakers."

                          Claudia Karvan as Audrey Bennett and Ethan Hawke as Edward Dalton in "Daybreakers."
 
Directors Peter and Michael Spierig (Undead) bring the society of the vampires into exposition and the potential starvation of the populace; the vampires try to ration the blood by mixing them with normal food and some even resort to animal blood. The vampires in “Daybreakers” are your everyday normal people; some were turned involuntarily while some feared death so they became vampires. They are also prone to human desires and flaws as the rich want to get richer, some have ambition while others show compassion to the human populace as represented by Dalton and a certain vampire senator and “human rights activist”. Yes, these are vampires with our own personalities and feelings and the writers did well in following established vampire myth such as vulnerability to sunlight and wooden stakes to the heart, casting no reflections, but I didn't exactly see enhanced strength and speed. Some are blinded by duty, some are blinded by greed and ambition; while some are just living their lives; with an eerie feel. The cars and the cops are also fitted to adapt to this vampire society.
 
I liked the way the script remembered to instill certain everyday economics, the supply is low so the price elevates; therefore there are also the homeless who cannot afford to buy the near-priceless commodity. The viewer is privy to the vast human harvesting facilities and this is where the images become rather grim. The “Subsiders” represent the poverty that is a part of any civilization. The film also brings forth a sort of a cautionary tale about harvesting something to the point of extinction. This problem reminded me of “Blade” where the vampires have struck a deal with the humans to prevent over-population and over-harvesting. The direction shows the vampires as conflicted characters and the film has that quality that made Kubrick famous for its themes. The peril of the bat-like creatures are also synonymous to the vampires at their most frantic and ravenous. 

                 Ethan Hawke as Edward Dalton, Claudia Karvan as Audrey Bennett, Willem Dafoe as Lionel ``Elvis'' Cormac and Vince Colosimo as Christopher Caruso in "Daybreakers."
 
When the politics take a back step from the screenplay, the film does have an unsettling feel. The sepia-like bluish night shots are nicely executed and represents the bleakness of the vampire world with a menacing and creepy mood. Color becomes more resolute during the day as a representation of life. Here, the cinematography plays an integral part of the film. The gloom, the mood and the colors play a good part in the film’s emotions. There is suspense to be had with “Daybreakers” as this is almost a saga for oil, water or some other needed resource. The directors were able to exhibit a talent for a futuristic calamity. There is also action to be had with the film but not as stylish as those seen before; the action is realistic and follows the blueprint of simplicity in the scenes. There is also a lot of blood and gore and most of them were done the old-fashioned way; if there was CGI, I barely noticed them. This is after all a low-budget film so the Spierig brothers do try to be as creative as they can be as it does have that epic feel as the humans and vampires are at war. 

               Willem Dafoe as Lionel ``Elvis'' Cormac, Ethan Hawke as Edward Dalton and Claudia Karvan as Audrey Bennett in "Daybreakers."

                                     A subsider in "Daybreakers."
 
The characters in “Daybreakers” are nicely written. Dalton is played by Ethan Hawke as a vampire with compassion, turned against his will. His brother (Michael Dorman) cares for him and would do what he can to aid him. It was kind of nice to see one contemplate whether to betray his current race or aid in the cause of his past race. Willem Dafoe provided some comic relief and for a film like this, it is much appreciated to keep it from becoming too depressing. Sam Neil is a great villain as I was impressed as to how he would sacrifice almost anything for his greed to maintain power. Claudia Karcan is convincing as a the leader of an underground human group while Isabel Lucas plays Allison Bromley and her role plays a significant part in the film's emotions.
 
Now the film isn’t perfect and there are several missed opportunities. I thought that the problems of the “Subsiders” weren’t fully explored and the film does leave several questions unanswered. Some of the film’s plot elements require a bit of ’thinking’ and leaving the answers to the viewer’s comprehension. I liked that the film left some elements to the imagination, it helped in making me be more immersed in the film. But admittedly some may want more direct answers as to the relevance of sunlight, air and water.
 
“Daybreakers” does manage to pull off the right mood, bleakness, tone and atmosphere in this look of a futuristic world. The film has a simple yet well developed story that I managed to enjoy. The vivid creature designs and the touches of visceral blood and gore made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. There are also some inventive action scenes as there is a shoot out and Edward’s car becomes riddled with bullet holes in the morning sun. It was easy to be ‘sucked’ into this world, despite some theatrical faults. The Spierigs have redeemed themselves after their abysmal zomedy “Undead”, “DAYBREAKERS” proves to be an inventive film; that may go about familiar elements while presenting its own individuality. Its conventional visuals present a charm that enhances its simplicity with the strong portrayal of a “need for natural resource” metaphor. “Daybreakers” is worth the trip back to the vampire genre.
 
Highly Recommended! [4+ Stars]

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June 14, 2010
Great review man, I liked this one as well. Excellent review.
 
February 25, 2010
Nice review, I also liked this movie very much.
February 26, 2010
Thanks, bud. It was a really interesting vision of the vampire lore.
 
January 13, 2010
Great Lunch exclusive, Woo.  And whoooa at those pictures!  I can only imagine how much life would suck if you can't die, something that I also witnessed in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus this weekend.  Thanks for sharing, Woo! :)
January 14, 2010
Thanks, Debbie, so are you reviewing The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus? Please do share, I haven't seen you review a movie since "Legend of Chun-Li... ;-)
 
January 12, 2010
I was going to pass on this one but hearing that it came from the guys who did UNDEAD (which I did not find abysmal, it had ALIENS in in!) and since it got a 4 from both you and Trahsie, I'm gonna have to reconsider. Maybe skip SHERLOCK HOLMES instead.
January 12, 2010
UNDEAD was bad (but I amy have to revisit since I only saw it ondemand), but this movie is not. Yes, I think it would be a smart move to skip SHERLOCK HOLMES in favor of this one. It has great humanity in its screenplay while putting in some horror elements. Trashie thought it was Romero-esque while I thought it was Kubrick-ian. Check it out, my queen!
January 12, 2010
I'm hoping for Romero-esque.
 
January 11, 2010
Great writeup! Thanks, but no thanks! I'm not going to pay for vampire movies no matter how good the plot is, lol... Damn gross, the look of it, I mean! Yuck!
January 11, 2010
LOL! I like gross and yucky movies...
January 11, 2010
You've to if you spend that much money on so many of them, lol...
January 11, 2010
Plus I'm anemic, vampire is not good for me ;-)
 
January 11, 2010
Sweet review Sir Knight, I am dying to see this highly. This film looks as though it will put horror back on the map like say........ "30 Days and 30 Nights" just so the genre wouldn't be lost in Hollywood and maybe a consideration before the Oscars. I know I will see this soon. Once again great review!
January 11, 2010
Funny you meantioned "30 Days..." because I thought this movie is a lot better than that one. It had a great compelling story and doesn't rely on the stetereotypes of a vamp flick. Great flick!
 
January 11, 2010
Great review, Mr. William. You actually took my desire to catch this one up a few levels. Not that the previews were bad per se, they just didn't make it look riveting. I must confess that I do enjoy Hawke's work usually (Training Day as a recent entry that comes to mind). Great job, will be sure to rent this once the it hits the DVD circuit. By the way, no new reviews this weekend, I was slammed with work (not to mention BAD weather). I'll be on tomorrow though to catch up. Take care, brother.
January 11, 2010
Oh, man...is it snowing bad there? it's cold as heck over here. I may not be able to write until later...I'm stuck with family issues.
 
January 10, 2010
Is that Ethan Hawke I see in a sci-fi vampire epic? Weird. Looks interesting though.
January 10, 2010
Yep. That is Hawke in the lead.
January 11, 2010
How bizarre.
 
January 10, 2010
Sounds like my kind of film.
January 10, 2010
Oh it is, my friend, it is. It is almost screaming 'cult classic'.
 
January 10, 2010
Alright, thanks to your review I so have to see this one now.  Problem is there's a lot of crap on my "Movies to see before friends beat the shit out of me," list.
January 10, 2010
What'd you see this weekend? I was almost sure you were seeing this one. "Movies to see before friends beat the shit out of me"...sounds like the makings of a great Lunch.com list LOL!
 
1 2 Next
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 . 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.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This was a good vampire movie more real good acting and cast
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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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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