Daybreakers – Blu-ray
Directors: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe.
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Man, am I fast approaching vampire burnout. All the emo, whiny, (is that redundant?), sparkly, my boyfriend/best friend/neighbor/guy who hired me at the circus is a vampire crap. I am completely sick of all those bland, tepid, pretty-boy and utterly not frightening blood suckers. I want my scary vampires back, damn it! Three cheers then for Daybreakers from Lionsgate, a movie that gives vamps back their fangs. While not the feral vampires of 30 Days Of Night, or the Cthulhu-ish, trap-jawed ubervamps of Blade 2, or even the more traditional corpse-like vampires of ‘Salem’s Lot, the blood suckers in this movie are nonetheless mean, evil, and completely happy being vampires. They don’t moan about their lost humanity, they embrace their unlife, and all the cool perks that go along with it. Well, not all of the vampires do, and therein lays this film’s story.
In the near future (2019) a plague has swept over the world, turning the vast majority of people into the undead. Naturally, this means a major food shortage as living humans become more and more rare. So the new vamp government, hand-in-hand with big business, round up all the living people, place them into comas for easy handing, and then put them on tap for the thirsty nocturnal populace to enjoy. However, with X numbers of vamps far outnumbering Y numbers of humans, the unwilling donors soon start getting sucked dry, and thereby dying at an ever increasing rate.
Enter our brooding, good-hearted, vampire hero, Edward (no, not that sparkling milksop) who is a hematologist looking to create an edible substitute for the warm, red stuff. Hmm, the protagonist is named Edward and he’s basically trying to make True Blood, when was this script written again? Anyway, Edward’s not having too much success with his faux blood and vamps the world over are going crazy with hunger and starting to change into something far more monstrous than your normal vampires. Soon these monster-vamps start attacking and cannibalizing anyone they can get their fangs into. Then quite by accident, Edward stumbles upon the small band of human resistance fighters who just might have the cure for the entire vampire plague. But will the now stronger, meaner, and immortal population want to become the weak, meek, and slowly dying humans they once were?
This movie, while not perfect, gets a lot of credit for trying something new. Ok, it’s not really all that new as the nods to True Blood and Twilight show, not to mention that the “world run by vamps” thing was first done by Richard Matheson in his excellent novel, I Am Legend. But Daybreakers takes all those different threads, pulls them together, and knits out one enjoyable creature feature with solid acting, highly decent special effects, good action pieces, and cool looking vampire-werebat things. But most importantly, these vampires are vampires and that’s all I really want from my vampire movies. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
The Blu-ray out by Lionsgate comes bloated with extras like as a vampire let loose in a blood bank. The co-directors and creature creator provide an entertaining audio commentary, and while that may be par for the course, the over two hour long behind the scenes documentary about the movie goes far beyond the call of duty. Yes, that means that this doc is actually longer than the movie it’s about. In addition to that extensive feature, the BD offers a shot film by the directing brothers, storyboard comparisons to the actual shots, trailers, poster gallery, and a digital copy of the movie in case you want to watch it on your laptop or the like. Lionsgate knows how to put out great BDs and Daybreakers is them firing on all cylinders.
I enjoyed this movie a lot and if you are as sick of the wimp-tastic vamps that are everywhere these days, then I think you will too. Consider this one recommended.