In a world 10 years into the future, vampires make up the vast majority of the population with only 5% of the human race remaining. This presents particular challenges as the vampires' food supply - human blood - is dwindling and rationing is now the norm. There is growing evidence that vampires deprived of an adequate blood supply are themselves evolving into wild, vile creatures that attack anyone and anything in order to survive. Dr. Edward Dalton, a vampire and hematologist who works for a pharmaceutical firm, has been working on finding an artificial blood supply that will meet the vampire society's needs. He is sympathetic to humans and sees his work as a way of alleviating their suffering but his views on finding a solution change considerably when he meets someone who found a way to transform himself from being a vampire to again take human form.
Directed by: Michael Spierig
, Peter Spierig
. Starring: Harriet Minto-Day
, Jay Laga'aia
, Damien Garvey
, Sahaj Dumpleton
, Allan Todd
, Gabriella Di Labio
, Ben Siemer
, Peter Welman
, Ethan Hawke
, Callum McLean
, Jarrad Pon
, Victoria Williams
, Zoe White
. Music by: Christopher Gordon
After cinemas were infested with godawful sparkling fairies the media has dubbed to be vampires, I gave up hope for the next good vampire movie. I was aching for dark atmosphere, chilling suspense and characters that were not only acted well, but also had depth and would be enjoyable to watch. I also hoped for a unique plot, a story that would keep me interested during the whole 90+ minutes the movie would last. Well, with Daybreakers, my wish was granted. Almost. Sort of. A little bit.
It's the year 2019, and the world is populated by vampires. Humans are almost extinct, and the ones that are left are being hunted for their blood. However, time is running out, because there's only enough blood to sustain the vampire population for a short time, and it's up to vampire hematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) to find a blood substitute. When he meets a group of humans on the run from the vampire law, he teams up with them and their leader Elvis (Willem Dafoe), a former vampire who found a way to become human again, to find a cure for the virus that turned most humans into the living dead.
What made this movie good was its great cast and it's even greater premise. Ethan Hawke steals the show; he is very believable as his character, a sympathetic hero who needs to find his balance between what he is and what he wants to be. The supporting cast, especially Sam Neill, who plays Dalton's boss, does a fantastic job as well, and there isn't a single bad egg amongst the actors.
The premise of the movie also gets your attention. The idea of the world being populated by vampires is a fresh take on vampire storytelling, and the film succeeded in showing me a world where its inhabitants only get up at night. The atmosphere and setting were good and had me begging for more.
Where the movie really starts to suck (no pun intended), is in what direction the directors, the Spierig brothers, want to take 'this film, and how they decide to do it. They expect the audience to feel sympathy for the struggling human characters, but don't succeed because the vampires, the "villains", are portrayed so well; they're modern, they're suave, they're everywhere. Surely you'd expect for the audience to be more interested in vampire life in the future, especially since, hello, they took over the world, but no, the Spierigs want us to root for the humans. If both the humans and the vampires had been evenly portrayed, maybe we would've cheered for the humans.
The fun thing about a movie like this is it's ability to make you scratch your head endlessly in confusion. I asked myself millions of questions during this movie, like... 1) How exactly did the world become overrun with vampires? What started it all, and how did it lead to vampire domination? There was a brief mention of a plague, but it should've been elaborated more. 2) Why was the human harvest failing in the first place? Was all the sophisticated technology of 2019 not enough to keep a few bodies producing blood? 3) What was the blood sub supposed to be used for? I thought it was to keep the vampires well-fed, but in the surgery scene, it seems like they're trying to cure vampirism itself. It seems like the movie shifts gears halfway; first, we have talk of a substitute a lá TruBlood, but then we're looking for a cure? Which one, movie? You can't have both. 4) Is something wrong with Edward's doors? It seems like someone's breaking into his house constantly. Oh, wait... someone IS constantly breaking into his house! Time to invest in some, oh, I don't know, LOCKS? 5) Now, for the holy mother of annoyances in this movie: why, in the climactic end fight where practically everyone gets turned back into a human and then eaten by a horde of vampires, did no vampire stop for a second and say "hey, waitaminute, that guy just turned into a human right before our eyes! Maybe we should research this!" You can't use the excuse that they're driven insane by not getting enough blood, since, as seen by their appearance, the transformation hasn't gone far enough for them to start losing their sanity. How stupid are these vampires?! (6. This isn't really a question, more of a personal nitpick that I need to get out of my system: that was one stupid way to make a vampire into a human! Light someone on fire and then throw water on him? That's not a cure for vampirism, that's a stunt on Jackass!)
Many more questions popped up during viewing, but these are the ones that really made me ponder. .
Review by horror_pop
from the Internet Movie Database.