Movie Review: Daybreakers

Vampires are all the rage these days.  HBO has found a huge hit with True Blood and Twilight has become a pop culture phenomenon, but it seems like vampires have softened up over the years.  Even with the recent influx of vampire-related entertainment, we haven’t seen a truly kick-ass vampire movie since 30 Days of NightDaybreakers fills this void and offers an interesting twist to the world of vampirism in the process.

The basic premise involves a near-future society in which humans have become an endangered species.  The vampires are in control, and humans are being harvested for blood collection by vampire-driven pharmaceutical companies.  The problem is that vampires are running out of humans to feed on.  When vampires are deprived of human blood, they become malnourished and mutate into 6-foot killer bat-like creatures.  I guess this is a vampire’s version of scurvy.

Ethan Hawke plays a vampire who is a scientist working on a formula for synthetic blood, which the future of both races is really dependent on.  Everything changes when he meets, and teams up with a group of crossbow yielding humans.  Among them is Willem Dafoe, a former vampire who was miraculously turned back into a human after a freak accident.  Their plan is to replicate this process, and restore the human race.  Sam Neill is the head of the afore-mentioned pharmaceutical company, and he became a vampire in order to beat cancer and spend more time with his still-human daughter.  He is also a ruthless businessman who aims to put a halt to Hawke and Dafoe’s plan.

Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe in "Daybreakers"

The look of the film is sharp, often contrasting bright white lights against the glossy black surroundings.  Written and directed by the Spierig brothers, Daybreakers introduces a lot of new concepts to the vampire formula.  The vampires have made some clever adaptations to their everyday lives, allowing them to live a bit differently than the vampires we are used to seeing.

The script is sprinkled with all sorts of funny lines, most of which come from Dafoe’s character.  This offers a nice reprieve from the onslaught of blood and fiery explosions.  It will have you jumping out of your seat one minute and laughing out loud the next.

The timing of its release is a bit of a shame because I’m afraid that Daybreakers is going to get lost in the ongoing shuffle of vampire madness.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that Ethan Hawke’s character’s name is Edward.  Yikes.  Regardless, I really hope this movie catches on because it is a great way to kick off the new year and is the best vampire movie since Interview with the Vampire.

Rating: 8/10

3 Responses to “Movie Review: Daybreakers”
  1. Peyton says:

    I would join this team Edward.

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