on May 19, 2010
This was a very original and inventive twist on the vampire sub genre. It is a bleak look at a dystopian future where mankind has been hunted down to near extinction by the vampire majority, who now face a complete breakdown of their society as blood shortages create global chaos. Starvation cause the vampires to regress into deformed crazed cannibals that eventually die. The few human survivors take a desperate last stand against the increasingly desperate vampires. There was a lot to read into the multi-faceted story as a social and political commentary. Or if you're more so inclined, it is action packed with buckets of blood and viscera generously thrown about the screen, as well as awesome creature effects, lots of shooting, gruesome deaths, and car chases. Even a hint of romance. It also has a great cast going for it. In general, a well-rounded crowd pleaser.
Daybreakers(released Sept/09)stars,among others,Ethan Hawke,Willem Dafoe,Claudia Karvan,Michael Dorman,Sam Neill and Jay Laga'aia.This film is a pretty good vampire flick, with a nice twist.In this one the vampires,instead of being a sub class living amongst humans,are actually the dominant species.The story deals with their long term attempts at survival.And speaking of which,let's look at that.
The story finds Hawke as a blood specialist working for a pharmaceutical company run by Neill.Vampires now rule the earth with the remaining human population dwindled down to a small percentage.Because of the lack of humans from which to feed off of,the blood supply is dangerously low and getting lower everyday,as we witness vamps lining up to drink fluids that go from 20% human blood content,down to 5%.Another side effect to this shortage is that vamps who cannot afford to pay the ever rising high price,are turning back into unthinking savages(subsiders) who will prey even on their own kind.The company is bound to be the first to come up with a blood substitute.
Hawke is technically a vamp but he has never been comfortable in his own skin.On the way home from work one night he almost gets into an accident with another vehicle.It contains humans,which Hawke hustles into his own car as the police show up.After they leave the humans depart,but not without knowing his name and place of work.
Hawke's own brother is a vamp also,the one in fact that turned Hawke in the first place.He works for the military and later that night he returns from duty with a bottle of pure human blood which Hawke refuses to ingest.After a brief argument the two are confronted by a subsider, who used to be Hawke's gardener.After a close encounter they manage to kill it.Next morning one of the passengers he previously saved from the cops(Karvan)enters his house and leaves instructions for a meeting at a specific destination out of town.
Hawke drives to the location specified and meets up with Karvan and "Elvis"(Defoe).Before they can get the preliminaries over with Hawkes own brother shows up and tries to take them all in.Just then an army truck is seen heading their way.They overcome Hawke's brother and escape in Hawke's car.Once they are safely away Defoe relates his story that he was once a vamp also.One day while driving along and not paying attention to the road he slammed into a barrier at a river's edge and went flying out the car's windshield.He immediately caught on fire from the sun,landing in the river and into a culvert.He soon realized he had been cured somehow through his ordeal.That is why they approached Hawke, in order to enlist his help.Hawke readily agrees.
He is taken to a deserted vineyard owned by Karan's parents.There it is discovered that they need to control the burning process in order to effect a cure.Hawke agrees to become the guinea pig,with Karan and Defoe's help.Inside a jury rigged fermenter,Hawke indeed becomes human once more.Before the military can arrive to capture the three,they flee the scene.
Hawke gets an idea to return to the house of a friend, who he worked with for years at the pharma company to create a blood substitute.They do so and try to enlist his help.The friend takes a phone call and goes into a bedroom for privacy.After a while they realize he has called his office and Karan has been captured.Hawke and Defoe barely escape capture and flee.
While hiding out Hawke's brother finds them.He is slowly turning into a subsider due to lack of real blood.On an impulse the brother attacks and bites Defoe.The brother turns back to human.It seems the blood of the cured vamps like Defoe and Hawke will now turn back any existing ones.Hawke returns to his pharma company to turn himself into Neill in order to save Karan.It seems Neill has finally gotten his substitute and says it was never about a cure but about the money.When Neill calls Hawke a coward,Hawke's comeback causes Neill to lose it and he bites Hawke.Slowly but surely Neil turns back.They tie him up in a chair and send him down an elevator to the main floor where soldiers stand waiting.Sniffing his "human-ness" they attack him en masse.When those soldiers turn the ones behind them attack those,and so on and so on.It seems the ball has started rolling and an all out cure is inevitable.The film ends as the three drive off into the sunset and a bat flies towards the screen.
I liked this twist on the usual vampire stories.All involved did a good job and the S/FX are well done.I was especially surprised to see one of my favourite small screen nemeses in the film;New Zealander Jay Laga'aia,who played Draco on Xena,now playing a Senator here.There's a talented guy who needs more screen time on both the big and small screen.The film does have it's extraneous moments that could have been excised from the film,such as the sub story of Neill's daughter who near the beginning of the film we learn(from Neill)has rejected becoming a vamp.It is later,unnecessarily fleshed out with her capture,turning and killing.While not a perfect film(few are) I thought overall it still was quite satisfying.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s /r of 2:40:1 and is crisp and clear.Extras include two featurettes and commentary.
All in all a nice twist to the vampire mythos in which the vamps rule the world and fight for their existence,instead of being an underclass.All involved did a bang up job and I think it's a film with a nice bite to it!
"Daybreakers" has a rather clever concept -- if vampires existed, wouldn't they eventually end up outnumbering humans?
The movie doesn't quite carry off that concept, introducing semi-scientific vampirism and then muddling the whole idea of how it works and is cured. But despite its drawbacks, it's still an entertainingly sleek, action-packed story with a surfeit of disgusting gore and a few genuinely wrenching moments.
By the year 2019, the earth is almost entirely populated by vampires, except for a small minority of humans who are drained of their blood. But now almost all humans are gone -- and if vampires don't regularly drink at least a little human blood, they morph into mindless batlike "subsiders." Because of this, hematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is desperately trying to formulate a blood substitute.
Then he encounters a small group of humans led by Audrey (Claudia Karvan). Sensing that he's sympathetic to their cause, Audrey reveals something shocking -- Elvis (Willem Dafoe), a man who was cured of his vampirism. Now Edward must unravel the secret of curing vampirism before all humans and vampires are destroyed.
"Daybreakers" clearly wants to be a thinking-person's vampire movie -- it presents a "what if?" world that would probably come to pass if there were vampires, and it presents vampirism as a plague.
Unfortunately, it never really gives any answers -- the cure for vampirism are especially confusing, and the final twist about how to cure people is bafflingly inexplicable. It's never foreshadowed or hinted at -- it just pops out of nowhere. Plus we're saddled with the usual "big corporations = pure evil" cliche. Blech.
But if you turn off some of your brain cells, "Daybreakers" is a pretty entertaining twist on the vampire genre. Directors Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig paint the vampire world in cold, bleak lighting that seems to sap all color, while the humans' scenes are ramshackle, dusty and brightly lit. There are lots of fast chase scenes (including a ridiculous one on a bridge), tolerable writing, and a literal bloodbath where we see vampires tearing humans apart.
Hawke does a pretty tolerable job as Edward, an angsty vampire who is trying to save as many people as possible -- the character isn't very unique, but Hawke plays it with melancholy power. Karvan is a generic love interest with nothing much to do except get captured, but Willem DeFoe is pretty brilliant as a drawling mechanic human-turned-vampire-turned-human.
"Daybreakers" aspires to be more than it ends up being, but it's still a fairly entertaining vampire movie -- certainly better than the "Twilight" series.
on February 14, 2015
This is the film that asks the questions, "What if there really were vampires?" Apparently a lone bat caused an outbreak and in ten years most of the world were vampires with a critical blood shortage. Vampires who do not feed on blood turn very ugly and attack fellow vampires.
Meanwhile a group of humans have a possible cure, i.e. convert vampires to humans, but what vampire wants that?
Ethan Hawke stars is our protagonist and center point for the film. He is aide by Willem Dafoe, a former vampire who drives a Trans Am and Claudia Karvan against the evil vampire capitalist Sam Neill.
The film has what you would expect from a vampire film, ugly bat people, people on fire, people getting bit, etc. The film is entertaining, but lacks the great characters and dialog of being a hit. It needed to take Dafoe over the top and give personality to the rest of the cast.
Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex. Brief nudity of dormant humans.
on September 26, 2015
Brilliant -- a vampire movie based on analogies with oil depletion; neoliberal military, political, and economic models (not so much analogous as straightforward); drug dependence; and even environmentalism and vegetarianism (a vampire doctor who refuses to drink human blood). The political and social commentary is very imaginative and well informed, but it also works well as a straight-up scary movie. All the professional reviews I read ignore the story and discuss the special effects, actors, etc. -- everything but that which is interesting about it.
on June 1, 2010
I agree that this was an interesting concept - vampirism as the norm on earth, trying to figure out how to survive as supplies of human blood become dangerously low. The atmospheric touches were good as well - all the brief shots like the crowd waiting for a subway train to come, and when the lights dim for a second everyone's eyes glow red, revealing that this is a vampire society. Even the plot was constructed pretty well - the conscientious scientist (Hawke) trying to come up with an alternative food source that will a) save vampire society and b) switch vampires away from drinking human blood (and therefore end the virtual slavery of humans).
BUTTTT - I don't know. This got pretty "ho-hum" for me about halfway through. Daybreakers was somehow lost between being a drama and an action movie, and the "action" was generally more just gruesome and lunch tossing scenes of vampires being torn apart by other vampires (picture starving hyenas going after another starving hyena, and this being replayed half a dozen times). I really could have done with the gruesomeness being toned down a lot, and some more traditional human vs. vampire action scenes.
Anyway - three out of five stars seems appropriate to me... just a bit above average, but not something I'll be recommending to friends.
on May 25, 2013
Watched this once and thought it was pretty good, so I bought it. Disappointed on the second viewing. This story has been told too many times.
A unique marketing campaign gave Daybreakers some semblance of interest when it was being prepped for release, but the final picture is one of the most worn out and stupefying vampire movies ever to grace the cinema, giving F.W. Murnau and Max Schreck complete permission to rise from their graves and slap these filmmakers silly.
Daybreakers is about as predictable as one can get. It's got the shot-grade style of the Underworld series (and a few nips from its monsters) with the poor man's excuse for a cover up story. The premise is simple enough. A vampire plague (go figure) has turned 90% of humans into the undead, leaving the remaining 10% of normal humans to be rounded up and put into blood farms to feed the masses. However, as the blood supply begins running short, the vampires begin mutating into a deadly subspecies of vicious, animal-like creatures. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is a researcher for a major U.S. conglomerate looking to create a synthetic blood compound that can feed the population. Things go awry when he meets up with humans who try to turn him to their cause with the promise of a cure for the vampiric plague. But all is not as it seems, and there is a sinister agenda playing out behind the scenes. Someone doesn't want the cure to work.
If the contrived and uninspired plot design doesn't bore you, the movie itself surely will. Daybreakers is about as much fun as standing in line with a group of Twilight fans. At the very least, they are watching a better example of a vampire film, and that says a lot. The problem with the film is that it could have been rather good, had it not been for some outlandishly moronic creative decisions. It all falls apart thanks to one glaring, undeniable flaw: the cure itself. Rest assured, when your solution to the vampire epidemic includes setting them on fire in order to turn them back to normal humans, it's clear you're not in Kansas anymore. Let's see: sun kills vampires. But...just the right amount of sun can CURE the vampire and turn them human? What's next? Just a little bit of Medusa's glare can smooth away your wrinkles? The very notion is preposterous to the point of maddening irritation. If I hadn't shelled out $14.00 to see it in the theater, I would have gotten up and walked away. Oh, and the fellow who discovered the cure just happens to be a former vampire named....Elvis. Yes, how clever indeed.
The film is largely there as a gorefest. There's plenty of it. The characters don't really do much of anything besides step out of the city for a day or two, only to go right back in again, so there's no sense of sprawling adventure or heightened importance. The film cannibalizes elements from the Matrix, Dawn of the Dead, and a handful of other horror movies in a attempt to patchwork some notion of a story amidst all the meaningless filler. Its attempt at social commentary about the dangers of society's mass consumption is about as subtle as being beaten over the head with a bag full of anvils, and sibling directors Michael and Peter Spierig were clearly absent the day George Romero was teaching the how-to class. There's just nothing original here. The story attempts to look witty, but feels like an Underworld rip, and the progression of scenes is utterly drab, uninspired and destined for the landfill where it belongs. They talk a lot about apocalyptic plagues in movies these days. It's too bad they can't create one for awful horror movies, too.
Somebody ring up Christopher Lee. Class is in session.
on December 4, 2012
loved the actors that they used in this movie. thought the story line needed to be developed more and less gore
DAYBREAKERS is something new in the vampire genre. Taking its cue from the Vampire side of the situation, it winds its way to the obvious conclusion. I will not bother you with the details. I bought this unseen....I am not disappointed. This movie skips into a less human world and into the vampiric with a decent storyline and a handful of quasi-believeable characters.
The aspect that I find disappointing is that it compacts into a movie that which could be much better explored in a TV mini-series, or even series. One doesn't get to jump inside the skin of the vampire, feel his/her pain, wander through nosferatic, nocturnal streets or walkways and get the "feel" of what has the potential to be a fascinating world. An hour and a half etc. just isn't enough. Daybreakers took me to a place I would like to visit again, but not necessarily a sequel.....I am DEFINITELY thinking mini-series.
This movie is for those who have a taste for Vamps, BUT are not looking for swords, sex, or testosterne-driven action! Daybreakers requires a bit more of you than that. If, like me, you have a collection of the vampiric, then pick this one up and absorb it. If you are a vampire novice, or looking to introduce someone to the genre, then I would suggest the BLADE series, or the Underwiorld series to start. For those who like to incorporate overt sexuality...go for True Blood. For the barely out of their teens, have no idea what love or life are really about, I would suggest the vapid Twilight series.
Again...well worth the money for us vampofiles....but I have a longing to get drenched in the atmosphere of it....drenched in what?...you may well ask ; )