Thursday, 15 April 2010

Daybreakers: Movie Review

Daybreakers: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe, Isabel Lucas, Claudia Karvan
Director: The Spierig Brothers
Vampires are all the rage these days and with a plethora of blood suckers out there, you'd have to wonder what story is left to be told - and how well it will do in the wake of the Twilight box office juggernaut.
This latest entry into the vampire genre is set in 2019 and sees the world swept with the vampire pandemic. With pretty much everyone overtaken by the desire and necessity to consume blood, real stocks of the red stuff are in short supply.
Enter Ethan Hawke's Edward Dalton, a haematologist working for Sam Neill's Charles Bromley. Bromley owns a human farm which is keeping the vamp population in blood - but it's running low and Dalton's desperately trying to find a substitute for human blood.
However, when Dalton literally runs into one of the last surviving groups of humans, he finds out from Willem Dafoe's Elvis that there is a cure for vampirism and one which could free them all from their misery.
But will he get that cure out into the population - or will forces stop him from giving every last vampire the chance of survival they need?
Daybreakers is an intriguing entry into the vampire genre with a solid central premise - the idea of vampirism being a condition which is parasitic and debilitating was explored in Let The Right One In. So in terms of bringing something new to the table, Daybreakers doesn't quite make it on that front - but what it does manage to do with its pale sharp colours is create a Blade Runneresque world with a tinge of Nightwatch about it.
All of the cast do a solid job with Ethan Hawke conveying the moral struggle well - and Willem Dafoe providing the out there elements required for his character.
There's also a fair amount of gore too - when the vamps are experimented on, they bubble and sizzle before exploding. The creature effects aren't too bad either - the vamps that have suffered from a lack of blood and mutated will give a few nightmares here and there.
Sure, there's an allegory for corporate greed with Sam Neill's Charles Bromley character doing everything he can to bleed the population dry and keep the company afloat; but overall there's not too much subtlety on show here; with explosions, chases, and shooting, it follows the predictable plot path of films of its type.

With Daybreakers, it feels like a case of missed opportunity - had the Spierig brothers pulled back a little and eased up on the explosions and gore, it could have been a really interesting entry into the genre. As it stands, it's a fairly disposable piece of Friday night entertainment.

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