The Month of Spooks continues! And what’s this, more vampires? Greeeeaaaaat.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Daybreakers”.
The world has gone to shit. An outbreak has caused most of humanity to turn into vampires. We follow Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a vampire/hematologist who joins a group of humans to try to find a cure for vampirism. So now we have our dystopian vampire plot. And it is actually pretty good. It sets up quite an interesting and fairly unique world that felt a bit more realized compared to other dystopias, a lot thanks to the attention to detail. It also has some interesting spins on vampire mythology. However, despite some of the cool ideas that the plot has, it is far from flawless. While the world and it’s mythology is interesting, the overall plot is kind of weak. I understood what was going on, it was pretty straight-forward. However, despite the world and mythos feeling developed, the rest of the plot is just there. It never fully engaged me, I just kind of followed along, never really feeling invested. And the ending teases a sequel. It doesn’t bother me that much, I just thought it would be worth mentioning. But overall the plot here is fine.
I’m a bit split on the characters here. Some of them I find quite interesting, even caring quite a bit about them. And some I find kind of bland. Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, the conflicted vampire/hematologist. He does his job, but he also feels sorry for the humans. This personal conflict is pretty interesting and makes him a bit more of an interesting character. And Hawke is great in the role. Claudia Karvan plays Audrey, one of the people from the resistance that Edward decides to help. She’s decently tough, smart, and determined. And Karvan is good in the role. Willem Dafoe plays “Elvis”, another member of the resistance. He’s likable, interesting, and just cool. And Dafoe is of course great in the role. Sam Neill plays Charles Bromley, the head of a huge corporation, and the boss of Dalton. And he’s one of the more bland individuals in the movie. The characters is just your typical bland corporate asshole character with the only twist being that he’s a vampire. And Sam Neill is pretty good in the role. And then we have Michael Dorman as Dalton younger brother, Frankie. He’s a bit of a dick, but you can tell that there’s a heart there somewhere. And Dorman is good in the role. Again, some characters are great, some not so much. But it’s at least well acted.
The score was composed by Christopher Gordon and it was good. While it’s not something I’d find myself listening to a lazy Sunday afternoon, it works very well for the movie. It’s loud, exciting, and just overall works well for this type of science fiction-thriller movie. It never felt out of place and worked fine for the movie.
This movie was directed by Michael & Peter Spierig (who later went on to make the excellent “Predestination”) and I think they did a really good job here. Their directing is tight, tense, and pretty eerie, often making me feel slightly on edge. And the action scenes in this movie are fun. Not among the best I’ve ever seen, but they’re fun and have a good amount of impact to them. And let’s talk about the visual effects. Because some of them look fucking fantastic, and some of them look… meh. That said, for such a small budget it is quite impressive what they managed to create here. There’s also plenty of blood & gore here and it is glorious, especially when most vampire movies around that time were dull, sparkly, PG-13 shitstains that wouldn’t dare go this far. But “Daybreakers” did it, and it’s glorious.
This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.
Will “Daybreakers” be remembered in the future as a classic? No. But for what it’s worth, this is quite an entertaining sci-fi-thriller. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, good music, and great directing. My only flaws with it come from the plot feeling somewhat thin, and some characters being a bit bland. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Daybreakers” is an 8,53/10. So while flawed it is still worth buying.
My review of “Daybreakers” is now completed.
Two Ethan Hawke movies in the span of one week… hell yeah.