Earth’s population is up against a vicious plague that’s transforming everyone into vampires and draining the world of an increasingly precious resource: blood. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) and “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe) must decide what happens next. As the human race count nears zero, will vampires feast on the few men and women who remain, or could science hold the key to a less destructive solution? Sam Neill and Claudia Karvan co-star.
Shawn – TV-Tastic
Rating: 6 out of 10
The immediate gut-reaction for a film like “Daybreakers” is: “Oh, great… yet another vampire film, because that genre hasn’t been exploited enough over the past five years.” To be honest, that was my reaction when I first saw trailers for this in late 2009. The problem for Daybreakers, and most likely the reason for its miserable box-office numbers of $51 million total gross, is the producers marketed the film in some misguided attempt to hop on the bandwagon of other popular vampire franchises, such as “Twilight,” “True Blood,” and “The Vampire Diaries.” That was a very bad marketing decision.
Daybreakers is a very original and unique twist on the vampire genre in that it’s not really a horror film at all. It’s a classic science-fiction story that deals with science as a backdrop and asks many “what if” and “how would you react” questions about exploiting others for your own immortality. How does a society preserve its humanity when mortality has been taken away? As far as vampire films go, there is surprisingly little graphic violence until the very end of the film because, frankly, it’s really not necessary to progress the story.
Where the film ultimately suffers is that it is very short, with a running time of 97 minutes. For a science fiction story with such an original concept there is far too little exposition. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered and is so quick that the audience doesn’t really have an opportunity to become emotionally attached to the characters or the plot. The performances from DaFoe, Hawke, and the rest of the cast are fine but you really don’t have any sense of a vested interest in any of these characters. If the audience can’t relate to the characters, they have no reason to care about the story.
Daybreakers, albeit not the best film, is enjoyable and worth your time if you like a unique sci-fi story. Netflix subscribers can watch it as part of their subscription through the Netflix streaming service.