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Daybreakers (2009) - Film Review

Michael and Peter Spierig did a great job with their ambitious new vampire film DAYBREAKERS. Joking themselves, that the contact lens budget on this film was more than the entire budget for their previous film UNDEAD, this was a huge leap for them, and they pulled it off surprisingly well.

Daybreakers introduces us to a world where people never change, never grow old, never die. Earth 2019 and ten years after the outbreak vampires are taking over, hunting down the last remaining humans and harvesting their blood. Just like
humans, vampires have disregarded their decreasing resources and are now about to pay the price. With human blood dwindling, the vampires begin to struggle to survive, some of them drinking their own blood which causes them to mutate into hideous looking ‘subsiders’. Ethan Hawke stars as Edward Dalton, a vampire scientist who is trying desperately to find a blood substitute and save his race.

That is until a car accident introduces him to a few human survivors who claim to have an alternative – a cure that will turn the vampires back into humans.

Within minutes the Spiereg brothers have shown us the bleakness of the new world, the desperate situation that both the vampires and the last remaining humans feel, and the definite line between the wealthy and the ordinary. Sam Neill as Edward’s boss Charles Bromley plays the antagonist beautifully, he would rather have the substitute than the cure. He knows he’ll sell the substitute because people will die without it, and he also knows that the wealthy will pay top dollar for ‘the real thing’.

Willem Dafoe steals the show as ‘Elvis’ a vampire who has just been restored to a human. His character has lines than only Dafoe could pull off and make look cool. Dafoe played this unusual character with flawless style. Elvis, Audrey (Claudia Karvan) and a few other survivors are up against a shit load of blood thirsty vampires,  including Edward’s brother Frankie, and Edward has to decide where his loyalties lie.

Setting up the bleak despair of the increasingly frenzied vampires, the diminishing humans, and those poor grotesque subsiders, the Speireg twins have made a visually riveting film, and though it does tend to slow just after the middle, it picks back up again for a kick ass action-packed ending.

Daybreakers is a unique horror film with plenty of action and thankfully only the merest hint at romance. The acting is first class, the hero handsome, the heroin beautiful, and the antagonist superbly selfish. I look forward to the sequel – and I’m pretty certain this is just a matter of time.

DAYBREAKERS (2009). Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig. Writers: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Claudia Karvan, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe.

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1 comment:

  1. I was actually debating whether or not to go see this, but seeing as you are a seasoned watcher of the genre, I feel a bit more inclined to watch this. As long as the romance is low key I will be fine with it!