(Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, et al / DVD / R / 2010 / LGF)
Overview: Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, a researcher in the year 2019, when an unknown plague has transformed the world’s population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, vampires must capture and farm every remaining human, or find a blood substitute before time runs out.
DVD Verdict: 'Daybreakers' is a breath of fresh, garlic and blood scented air, that steers clear of the recent abomination of sparkly vampires, and holds true to the genre's rich history while still managing an infusion of originality.
When a shortage of blood causes widespread hunger and panic amongst the predominant vampire population of the world, global blood banks - the primary one is run by sinister Bromley Marks (Sam Neill) - begin to ration for survival and plan for a synthetic substitute, headed by Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a vampire who shows great empathy for his most likely food source.
Meanwhile, the remaining humans scurry about in the dark like field-mice, hoping to avoid the keen night-vision of the vampire hunters who wish to capture the humans for harvesting. When Edward runs into crossbow-toting, former vampire Elvis (Willem Dafoe), he takes the steps towards discovering, testing, and implementing a cure.
An accessible plot and adequate direction by the Speirig brothers makes Daybreakers enjoyable, but not overbearing. With interlaced social commentary (substitute blood for today's oil crises) and similarities to previous vampire movies - most notably the cinematographic stylings of the Blade Collection and the cure for a "disease" from I Am Legend - the film is intelligent without unnecessary comedic aspects (although I found the concept of exploding vampire animals causing forest fires to be quite hilarious).
Special effects are a mix of CGI and old-school, with almost enough to satisfy a gore-hound. Add in an homage to the classic look of Nosferatu vampires and the result is an entertaining addition to the vampire genre, with just enough action and storyline to make up for a lack of character development.
Highly recommended for horror and sci-fi fans. Not recommended for fans of glittery, emo vampires. [JBA] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Making of 'Daybreakers' (edited version)
Commentary with co-directors Peter and Michael Spierig and creature designer Steve Boyle
Poster Art Gallery