Daybreakers (2009) – The Spierig Brothers

The next entry in the vampire section of DK Canada’s very entertaining Monsters in the Movies book is a but of a unique tale.

Set in the far future of 2019, vampires are the dominant life form on the planet after a virus has swept the world. Humans are dying out, and those that aren’t are being captured and farmed as a food source.

Ethan Hawke stars as Edward Dalton, a hematologist who is working on developing a blood substitute to keep the vampire race alive. He is also sympathetic to the remaining humans, and trying to find a way to help them, especially a rogue band that reaches out to him, with the possibility of a cure, in the form of Lionel (Willem Dafoe), who has somehow been able to return to human form.

As human blood dwindles, which is causing violent mutations among the vampires, companies are trying to find a way to save themselves, including Dalton’s boss, Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), who isn’t afraid to use every trick in the book to stay in control, and immortal.

It’s fun take on the vampire story, and Hawke, Dafoe and Neill are always fun to watch.

daybreakers

Seeing how the blood shortage is affecting vamp society serves as a snide commentary on consumerism, and the unique storytelling makes it the humans who are closer to myth than the monsters with their fangs.

The film is bloody, layered with some clever humor, and tells an exciting story.

As plans, and moves are made by both sides, Dalton make take on the most dangerous chances to help the humans, and possibly save the world. In a manner of speaking. But what if the vampires don’t want the cure?

The film feels too short for the ideas at work in the film, and honestly, the cure seems a little hinky, but serves as a way to move the story along.  The brothers have a cool way of storytelling, and the film rockets along,

It’s not for everyone, and definitely isn’t as reasoned out as it could be, but it looks slick, has some great actors who, in some cases, literally chew the scenery, and speaks to the self-destructive nature of humanity.

They handle the action beats nicely, and the blood and the gore is a lot of fun, and seems to get everywhere in this movie. I’m not sure I’m a fan of how thing play out when they get staked, but, I do like how the vampires’ nature becomes their own undoing as the movie comes to its climax.

A unique, and bloody film that wasn’t quite as well-realized as it could have been, but still worth a look as I explore the dark corners of the vampire genre with DK Books’ brilliant Monsters in the Movies.

Pick one up for yourself, and sink your fangs into it!

Daybreakers Neill

 

 

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