MOVIE REVIEW: "Daybreakers"


So far, most vampire movies have had one thing in common: whether their vampires were suave villians, heartsick romantics, ratty-looking things, or whiny teenagers, it was that they were usually the minority. But Daybreakers breaks that convention and instead makes them the majority and us, the mortal humans, the minority.

What would that world be like?

The action/horror/sci-fi film Daybreakers gives us an idea. Daybreakers takes place in 2019, 10 years after a devastating plague has turned most of the world into vampires who need bloo to survive, lest they turn into scary bat-like creatures called "Subsiders". So to solve this problem, they have been using the US - now a de facto police state -  army to hunt down humans for the purpose of farming them (these "farms" are seen on the posters). Unfortunately, they have been rounding up humans faster than they can breed them, so the blood supply is running low. Only one month of blood in fact.

And this is where our hero comes in. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke of Gattaca) is a hermatologist at the world's largest blood-farming corporation, which is run by evil vampire Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), despite not being a fan of the whole using-human-as-cattle-thing. His job is to find a blood substite so the entire planet does not turn into a bunch of ugly Subsiders (these things make Nosferatu seem like Cary Grant in the looks department).
Edward is soon approached by a group of humans led by a man named Lionel Cormac (Willem Dafoe), or "Elvis," as he likes to be called. Dafoe is for this movie what Woody Harrelson was for Zombieland: The badass redneck who is perfectly capable of killing the film's creature of choice with some funny, homespun, redneck, borderline-philosophical zingers thrown in ("Being a human in a world full of vampires is about as safe as barebacking a five dollar whore"). Anyhoo, Elvis is a former vampire who was cured by accident (how, I will not reveal) and Ethan decides, with the help of a beautiful fellow female rebel name Audrey (Claudia Karvan) to replicate the bizarre event via experiment. All the while being hunted down by the Army, which also includes Edward's younger brother Frankie, who has a cool scene involving a Subsider "home invasion".

As John Nolte mentioned, there is no shaky-cam in the movie. The action scenes are well shot. The scares are good. And there is gore, lots of it. Also fun is the little bits and sight gags here and there about what we would have in a vampire world such as a subway ad for "whiter teeth".

The science fiction department comes in with the new technology that a vampire world would have to develop. And I am not just talking about the human-farms. There are window-shields in cars so you can drive in the daytime (they burn up in the daylight) via video screen, and "Daywalks" or tubes that connect buildings and go under streets allowing people to move about in the daylight. There are other examples.

There are some very dark things about the film. As I mentioned earlier, Vampire America (and no, it is not called "Vampire America" in the film) is essentially a Police State in all but the name. Humans are farmed up and then disposed of. Subsiders are burned alive.The issue of mortality is treated lightly. Other than a reference here and there about how they are "blessed" (they never die), it is rarely discussed, though the price of immortality is shown in a shocking opening scene which I will not reveal.
Also, their dependence on blood shows a rather dark side of humanity. There is a scene at a Subway coffee stand about the fact that the "blood quotient" has been reduced. One of the patrons acts a way I guess a drug addict would act if he found out his dealer's product was less pure. In fact, drug addiction is a good way to describe their dependence on blood.They NEED it. And when they have gone without it for a while, it does not matter if you were best chums from the Pre-school playground to college roommates to Army buddies who have fought side by side with your back to one another, if you are a human, He. Will. Eat. You.

In short, they are animals. Once they start going without blood, they lose the ability to think rationally.

Yet, interestingly, the humans (ones who are not vampires) are portrayed as noble. They are brave and self-sacrificing. (and badass, too).

So, should you see it?

Yes! The film is definately worth a look.

Now, I know some of you might have reservations about seeing it since the army is portrayed in a negative light. Remember, this is a dystopian future of an America where Vampires rule, and, as a result, things are pretty screwed up in general. Immortality and eternal youth is portrayed as utterly hollow and empty, especially since the way to have it involved drinking the blood of your fellow human beings, a cannibalistic act (which a scene at the end shows pretty well).

My film cred is very little. Other than attending film camp in Orlando for one week one year, and the next year doing three weeks and only making short silent films in both (3 films in all), an having read some of The 5 Cs of Cinematography I have no real expertise in film. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one night.

To readers: If my writing could use any improvement. By all means put it in the comments.Be constructive (no "You are a $%#ing tard who is $#%&ing tarded.)