"Daybreakers" Movie Review (2010)

1/10/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review


Directed by Peter and Michael Spierig, written by the Spierig brothers, 98 minutes, rated R.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

It is the year 2019. For 10 years, the human race has slowly come closer and closer to extinction following the mass turning of most of the world's population into vampires, and these certainly aren't your little sister's sparkly ones. The planet has hardly changed, however--though most humans have become vampires, they still live in normal homes and work normal jobs, they just happen to have a constant craving for blood and get quite a bit more than a sunburn in the daytime.

Ethan Hawke is Edward Dalton, a doctor tasked with finding a replacement to blood due to the decreasing supply of farmed human blood. Edward has never been very taken with his new lifestyle--he strives more to find a cure for vampirism than to extend the life of this new, far more terrifying human species. He finds hope when he meets a seemingly cured vampire named Lionel (call him "Elvis"), who hopes to both cure the human race and repopulate the planet before it's too late.

Sounds like dreadfully serious stuff, but you'd be surprised. The Spierig brothers are known in their native Australia for mixing horror and comedy much in the same vein as Sam Raimi has with his "Evil Dead" films and "Drag Me to Hell," or perhaps more appropriately the recent neo-grindhouse films by Rob Zombie, Eli Roth and the like. The Spierigs play it straight, but they fill their dark dystopic world with cheesy references to vampire lore, over-the-top dialogue, and action sequences that bring more chuckles than thrills.

That's not to say the brothers are by any means incompetent directors. They know what they're doing, and the film's a riot. In fact, the entire style of the film itself seems to be one big joke. Huge, overdramatic setpieces with epic music, beautifully choreographed slow-motion sequences showing people getting torn apart or flying through the air--the Spierigs seem to be mocking both dystopian fiction and the typical Hollywood action film by overstylizing ordinary occurences and pointing out how silly all the cliches are. Basically, the film is fantastically directed, and that the Spierigs display their talent so deftly but as one big joke brings to question if this even is the best they can do.

The performances are tough to judge.  Depending on whether you take the film at heart or not, the hammy acting may not appear too impressive. But taken as the silly, unpretentious work it is, everyone is up to par (especially Willem Defoe as Elvis, at the top of his game and quite reminiscent of his insane and insanely funny "Boondock Saints" performance). Hawke, typically playing a man in way over his head, fits his straight-man turned hero role perfectly.

Of course, I can't go without confronting what seems to be the overall purpose of the film. The vampires' overuse of resources (blood, in this case) is a parallel to our modern troubles regarding resources such as oil, water, etc. As important as this theme is, it comes off as just another ploy in mocking today's Hollywood entertainment, which always seeks to carry some sort of blatant message without really having a solution. Whether this is the case or not, I couldn't help but take it that way, and it makes the overall grindhouse interpretation of the film all the more appropriate.

Overall, if you go into the film expecting some darkly serious and profound experience, you're very likely to be disappointed. But if you like your entertainment to be completely unpretentious and to have a good sense of humor about itself, "Daybreakers" is definitely one for you. A bloody, fun start to the new year.

Grade: B

View the trailer for the movie "Daybreakers" below. What are your thoughts?

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  1. alwayshopeful said...

    looking forward to seeing this!

  2. rocx said...

    it was worthy vampire movie. i watched it twice. like to watch it again and again. no doubt my boy friend also love this.

  3. Anonymous said...

    I also saw this movie twice in theaters, and I loved it. I don't think I'd pay to see it a third time, but I would have to say I'm thinking about buying it when it comes out on DVD. I strongly suggest you see it if you're up for some vamps blowin' up.

  4. CMrok93 said...

    Surprisingly good movie. Only 98 minutes and to the point. Very interesting take on vampires that I have not seen yet. Nice post, check out my review when you can!