Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Directors: Michael Spierig and Peter Speirig
Writers: Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
Starring Ethan Hawke, Willem DaFoe, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman, Isabel Lucas, Vince Coloismo and Harriet Minto-Day
Vampires are the in thing it seems with product like Twilight and True Blood and a lot of the product seems to go for the soft sell like Twilight and all it’s ilk. Thankfully, Daybreakers puts a new twist on the vampire genre and runs with it well. The idea that vampires have become the dominant species on Earth is a compelling one and makes for an intriguing story. The way the story is set up it seems that vampires have become the elite class of the world. And if they resemble any faction in modern day life it is the Republicans with their way of thinking. Humans are just cattle and that is all they are good for to them. And like any elite group this group has a underground swelling that is trying to unseat them and they do not cotton to that at all. This is a smart film that makes you think at the same time it thrills you. It has a great visual style and a solid cast of actors to bring full life to the characters. The film is also very bloody; it does not shy away from splashing it across the scene. This is a nice change of pace film that is aimed toward real vampire film fans who like to see their vampires ripping people’s throats out.
The plot basics are this, it is the year 2019 and the world is now governed by vampires and only 5% of the human population remains. This is a major thorn in the vampires blood supply, so they have a scientist, Edward Dalton (Hawke) trying to come up with a blood alternative for when they run out of humans. He is running out of time though as it seems that vampires who are not getting enough blood start to mutate and cannibalize their own blood supply. It also seems Edward is sympathetic to the humans’ plight and is soon helping them to find a cure for vampirism and this does not go over well with his boss (Neill). This leads to a dramatic showdown where every ones life will become turned upside down.
This is a visually dynamic film. The direction by the Spierig Brothers is very magnetic. Especially during the prinmal vampires attacks, it brings an intensity to the screen that is unmatched in any other recent vampire film. The script is tight as well. There is just enough depth given to the characters, so much so that you actually sympathize with Sam Neill’s character and his dealings with his daughter. The cast is solid. Hawke as always plays a good sympathetic hero. Neill is a swarthy villain that you still somehow sympathize with. DeFoe as usual steals every scene he is in and really makes the film worthwhile to watch. The SFX and effects in the film are amazing, I especially loved when the one vampire explodes after being subjected to the blood substitute. The score by Christopher Gordon is haunting and melancholy and really works in setting the tone of the up hill battle the heroes face in this universe. This is one of the better vampire films to come out in some time and well worth seeing.
This one gets 4 out of 5