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Friday, May 6, 2016

'Daybreakers' a vampire flick for grownups

Thursday, May 13, 2010

(Photo)
Ethan Hawke stars as reluctant blood sucker Edward Dalton in Michael and Peter Spierig's 'Daybreakers' from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
(Courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
With today's landscape of vampire films mainly comprised of elements that cater to a very young market and are more romance than fright, "Daybreakers," starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill is a refreshing, bloody good time. Literally.

In this flick, you're not going to find to young lovers staring longingly into each other's eyes. Instead, you're going to find exploding bodies, mutated blood suckers and so much blood it would make Herschell Gordon Lewis proud.

The year is 2019 and 95 percent of the world's population has been turned to vampires by a pandemic. Running low on their essential food source, the remaining five percent of the population is "harvested" for blood by the good folks at Bromley Marks. Feeling the pinch, member of Bromley Marks including Charles Bromley (Neill), Edward Dalton (Hawke) and Chris Caruso (Vince Colosimo) are working on a suitable blood substitute to alleviate the need for human blood.

With the need for blood becoming greater, the population is going to any lengths to get its fix, even feeding off of themselves and other vampires, which results in a disastrous outcome. The once content immortals are now turning into ravenous beasts and Edward wants nothing to do with it and finds a possible way out in the form of Audrey (Claudia Karvan), a human who has found a potential reversal of his vampire form.

After meeting Elvis (Dafoe), a vampire who's reverted back to his former self after a brief encounter with sunlight, Edward utilizes his scientific background to run an experiment to see if it's a viable option for the world, using himself as the test subject.

He finds that the cure in fact works, and has a nice unforeseen side effect, and when he brings this knowledge to Bromley, he learns that their quest was never for a cure at all. It was all a cleverly concocted plan to drive the demand up, so when they unleashed their blood substitute with no humans left, the prices would skyrocket and make Bromley Marks a bundle of money.

I knew vampires were cold, but dang.

This is the type of vampire film I've been looking for. It's intelligent, very dark and very gory. In addition, it echoes a lot of critical crisis's that we face today. While we might not be dependent on blood to live, we find ourselves dependent on other substances that in time will be just as crippling.

Hawke is fantastic in the role of Edward. Although he shares the same name as another known vampire, you don't feel ashamed rooting for his incarnation. He has a mission and purpose, and it has nothing to do with getting' a little love.

Equally impressive in their roles are Dafoe and Neill. Neill pulls off the greedy, blood-sucking executive to a tee and Dafoe glides along as Elvis. The accent Dafoe uses as Elvis gets a little annoying, but everything fits perfectly.

Some of the digital effects are a little sketchy, but for the most part the blood bath works. There are two scenes where it's really noticeable, but the story is strong enough to make you forget those in short order.

What really endeared this disc to me was the hour and a half behind the scenes featurette to show every aspect of the film, from script to screen. I find it refreshing that smaller budgeted films are giving us powerhouse extra features. The writing/directing brother duo of Michael and Peter Spierig show that their love of the genre is genuine and it comes across in the final project.

Final Cut: "Daybreakers" is a very fresh take on the vampire genre. Solid acting and a great story overcome some subpar special effects for a very satisfying flick.

4 out of 5 stars

DayBreakers

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman

Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Writer: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

MPAA Rating: R for strong blood violence, language and brief nudity

Runtime: 1hr. 38 min.

Available from Lionsgate Home Entertainment