Fresh off the success of their inventive take on the zombie genre, Undead masterminds Michael and Peter Spierig direct Ethan Hawke in an ambitious tale of a futuristic Earth populated entirely by vampires, and the efforts made by the creatures to ensure that their food supply doesn't run out as humankind is faced with extinction. The year is 2017, and a vampire plague has turned most of the planet's human population into bloodsucking ghouls. As the population of mortals fast begins to dwindle, a vampiric corporation sets out to capture and farm every remaining human while simultaneously researching a consumable blood substitute, headed by undead hematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke). His work is interrupted after stumbling onto a pocket of human survivors lead by Elvis (Willem Dafoe), a former vampire, whose past reveals a cure that could reverse the tide and save the human race. With time running out, Dalton's only hope lies in outsmarting the security forces of his boss (Sam Neill), whose goal isn't just to find a substitute, but to repopulate humanity in order to sell its blood to the highest bidder. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
Director: Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman, Vince Colosimo.
Release Date: Jan 08, 2010
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and brief nudity
Runtime: 1 hr. 38 min.
Daybreakers has interesting conceit, if slightly derivative think the vampire world seen in the first Blade, from the start but it mostly abandons most of the more interesting aspects of the story for a splatter fest finale. Writer/director the Spierig brother, who had a much more successful splatter fest with their break through film Undead, have some interesting ideas and could have made for some heady vampire theme story telling. About halfway through the film it seems like they have a change of heart and move the film in a different direction amping up the FX, which are fun and impressive, and action. It’s a real shame because a lot of ideas could have been very fertile grounds for imaginative heady type of film. As the film trots towards the final act it plays it safe and things all work out as expected. The cast is mostly game throughout the film with Ethan Hawke leading the way as the dour and conflicted hematologist looking for blood substitute. He tries valiantly to make his character interesting and engaging but mostly he’s just kind of a bore. Willem Dafoe and his natural creepiness work well here but his character is kind of a carbon copy of James Woods in John Carpenter’s Vampires with a few added quirks to make him more interesting. Sam Neill, like the film itself, starts off interesting hinting at some complexity to his character but degenerates into a clichéd capitalistic villain but with fangs. Slow mo dismemberments and blood flinging finishes off the film which would be just fine if it didn’t start off with so much promise.