Written & Directed by Peter & Michael Spierig
Where & When: Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, CA. February 1, 2010 8:35PM
In the sci-fi horror film, "Daybreakers", the world has been taken over by vampires. The problem is that their food source, which is human blood, is now becoming very scarce. When vampires are deprived of blood for long period of time, they slowly morph into bat winged creatures and become psychotic and dangerous. Vampires call them "sub-siders" because the live in the darkness underneath the subways.
The few humans that are left are being farmed out for their blood in a controlled environment. Bromley-Marks pharmaceutical company is the chief supplier in America which is run by Charles Bromley (Sam Neill). His supply is running low and he is desperate to come up with a synthetic blood substitute. He has his top hematologist, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) working on the project. Edward is privately a human rights advocate and is against the poor treatment of them. He has stopped consuming blood himself and would rather come up with a cure for vampirism.
They experiment with a potential new blood on a vampire and let's just say, it doesn't go very well. After leaving work, Edward is driving home when he gets distracted and accidentally runs a car off the road. He goes over to check on the occupants and inside is a group of humans who are in defense mode, armed with arrows. He tells them he wants to help them but of course, they are skeptical. The police are on the way to the accident and Edward tells the humans to hide in his car. He tells the police that they humans ran off in another direction.
The leader of the group, Audrey (Claudia Karvan) decides to trust Edward and takes him to their hidden sanctuary. She introduces him to Elvis (Willem Dafoe). Elvis has been cured of his vampirisim. He was in an automobile accident which threw him out of the car. It caused him to be exposed to sunlight and then was submerged into water and that combination somehow changed him back into a human. Edward wants to conduct an experiment on himself to try to duplicate what happened to Elvis and if it's succeeds, it will be the key to saving the human race. However, Mr. Bromley is uninterested in a cure and has found a successful blood substitute and wants to mass market the product and will do whatever he has to to stop Edward and the humans.
The film oozes plenty of blood and gore, which really shouldn't surprise anyone considering this is a film about vampires but it is done in a stylized and an in-your-face kind of way. The visual effects are actually well done for what is essentially a low budgeted horror flick.
Mr. Hawke does his usual slacker dude act which is not exactly the right fit for his character who is supposed to be a scientist but it isn't too much of a distraction. I don't mind the actor although I really don't get his appeal as a Hollywood leading man. The reliable Mr. Dafoe seems to be having a good time in his role and knows exactly what kind of movie he's in.
I don't know much about the Spierig Brothers except that they are Australian film makers but they managed to do a lot with very little and have done an impressive job. The script is pretty solid and remains consistent without cheating the audience with any implausible plot twists. "Daybreakers" doesn't pretend to be more than what it is, which is a fun B movie. If you are tired of vampires being romantic lovers instead wanting to make a meal out of humans, you should check this film out.