Saturday, January 30, 2010

Movie Review: Daybreakers

Daybreakers is a futuristic take on the vampire genre, and while it certainly has some pitfalls along the way, it's ultimately not a bad movie. In a world where vampires have overrun the population, food is becoming scarce (food in this case being humans). There's just not a lot of us left. So, an enterprising company (sleazily played by Sam Neill) has started harvesting humans as blood donors (this is the contraption you see in the movie poster above). Meanwhile, the company has some top-of-the-line vampire scientists trying to come up with a suitable blood substitute (one that doesn't cause the user to violently explode, that is!).

And in this story, when the vampires don't get blood on a regular basis, they recede into hideous, demonic creatures that are forced to live in the subbterranean levels of the city. They're looked upon as an entirely separate class of people and despised by the good-looking vampires.

Heading up the blood substitute program is cigarette-fiend, Edward Dalton (played rather gloomy by Ethan Hawke). Edward is feeling down that the humans are all but being eradicated. Like Frank Castanza as he's fighting for the Christmas doll for George, he feels "There's gotta be a better way!"

Thankfully, Edward smokes so much inside his car with the windows up that he doesn't see an oncoming car filled with escaping humans. They crash, he helps them avoid the cops and eventually, they meet up a little later and he joins their coalition, led by Lionel "Elvis" Cormac (played by the seriously cool Willem Dafoe). It's the goal of this coalition to find a "true" cure for the vampiric condition, which of course, the bad vamps don't really want.

This film has its good and bad moments. For me, I wish they would have spent more time on the undercity dwellers as that was an interesting twist in an otherwise tired genre. I also didn't think there was as much action or gore as many other reviews of the film have touted. I don't know, when I read a review that says the film was a gore-fest, I kind of expect it to be. This was a well made vampire drama with some action scenes and a couple of scenes where the wetworks fly. And to tell you the truth, Edwards chain-smoking was kind of ridiculous to me, not that I care about him smoking, but it was almost as if Marlboro financed the damn thing. Even still, it was a decent film and one that really shows the growth of the Spierig Brothers as filmmakers.

I give Daybreakers *** out of *****.