Daybreakers: Movie Review
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe, Isabel Lucas,
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
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
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.