Ethan Hawke has finally come back to the silver screen with, just what we need, another vampire film. Hawke, along with William Dafoe and Sam Neill, all star in Daybreakers. In the world of Daybreakers, it is 2019 and the majority of the population has become vampires thanks to a plague that broke out a decade before. The problem with that, as you can imagine, is that human blood is becoming scarce. Ethan Hawke is the scientist that is trying to come up with the solution: a blood substitute or a cure.
In the beginning, I really feel the Daybreakers script starts off strong. So many “virus break-out,” horror films feel the need to start at the beginning and feed the audience fake Hollywood science. For once, thank you writer/directors Michael and Peter Spierig, there is no mention of how this “plague” began. All we know is when it happened, and that it turned humans into vampires.
Second thing I noticed, that gave me faith about the rest of this film, is that finally a vampire movie went back to the classic mythology. Well, as close as I have seen in a while. All the vampires are pale, beautiful, have fangs, have no reflection in mirrors, only drink blood and absolutely will burn in the sun. These “back to the basics” vampires were so refreshing. It truly is becoming tiresome seeing screenwriters and authors try harder and harder to come up with different versions of vampires. And this comes from a girl that fell in love with Twilight, and quickly designated an overflowing book-shelf just to vampire novels. I love all vampires; I do not discriminate, but that does not mean I love this movie.
After having such faith in this film, it dried up quicker than the human blood supply. This film had a $21 million dollar budget. With all that money, could no one find a good Director of Photography? It is unacceptable for a standard medium shot of any of the main stars to be out of focus. I did not understand how it was allowed in the new Star Trek (Leonard Nemoy at the very end of the film talking to younger self), and cannot understand why it is allowed in this film. Then there is the issue of the sound mix. Random noise like bats flying around and all the action was unbearably loud when the dialogue was not. Once again, where did all this money go? The three top billed actors are no Clooney or Pitt.
Lastly, there are the obvious plot holes that bother me. I am not going to go in major detail, but a few big things bugged me. It’s great that a vampire company came up with the idea of just keeping humans alive to bleed them, but why are they not breeding them? Now I get that this film wants to be commentary on the situations that humans have now. Yes, as a race, we are using up things faster than we can replace them, but in this film it just makes everyone look dumb. Even cattle ranchers know not to kill every cow, but breed some, milk some and just kill some for meat. I think it would have been fun to see free-range humans! There were other small problems, like why did the caravan of humans drive back to the home-base at night when all the vampires are awake? That’s just getting knit picky though.
I refuse to end this review focusing on the bad. Daybreakers really does deserve some credit. Despite plot holes, the over-all concept is an exciting new take on vampires. Vampires are always the minority in films, for once they’re the majority (which obviously has unfortunate, but fun to watch ramifications). Seeing the two kinds of vampires was a nice touch. There were the typical pretty ones which I previously described, but then there were the ugly dried up winged zombie-like monsters. Way to converge the two most popular monster sub-genres at the end with the starving soldiers devouring each other.
When I saw this trailer, I was exited about it, but I was concerned for it. My initial thoughts were, “this movie has no audience.” With current vampire movies being dominantly targeted towards women with the romance that comes with that mythology (hello, Dracula is sexy people. Twilight was not the first sexy vamp story), men would be immediately turned off. Most women would not be interested in this because the lack of a love story. There is no real love interest. A chick that ends up holding Ethan Hawke’s hand once does not count. So I thought to myself, who the heck is going to see this movie? Well obviously I did, and so did enough people to make $15 million for Daybreakers’ first weekend. Let’s hope it continues to do well, but with a good idea and mediocre execution, I doubt it.