Friday, January 22, 2010


Directed by The Spierig Brothers.  Starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Defoe and Sam Neill.

The film opens with a striking image. A little girl kneels in a field, alone, as the sun slowly rises in front of her. Inside her home we see a suicide note sitting on a desk. She is a vampire, and cannot take the idea that she’ll be trapped in the visage of a child forever. The sun rises. The girl burns.

But that’s neither here nor there. These vampires explode when they’re staked!

“Daybreakers” imagines a world ravaged by a plague that’s converted most of mankind into vampires. A world perpetually shrouded in cobalt blue and containing blood cafes and underground walkways for easy daytime travel. Things look swell from the outside, but teeming beneath this bustling vampopolis are a horde of mutant vamps, resulting from blood deprivation. That’s right. Despite gaining hightened senses and super strength, we are still unable to appropriately manage our resources! Can’t teach an old dog yadda yadda. Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, a sort of vampire tree-hugger desperately seeking a cure for vampirism itself while the company he works for, headed by a greedy Sam Neill attempts to parlay the invention of a blood substitute into a means of upping the price for the real thing. Dalton’s frustration eventually forces him to meet with a small band of human resistance fighters lead by the eccentric Elvis, played by the equally eccentric Willem Defoe.

“Breakers” is the kind of film that poses a lot of interesting questions then, asks that you don’t think about them too much as tranquilizer darts begin to fly, vampires explode and mutants roar. Could it have better acknowledged the obvious parallels between our countries dwindling resources and the vampire’s blood crisis?  Sure.  Could it have delved a little deeper into some of the inner turmoil the films intro hints at, but never fully develops?  Absolutely. But I don’t get the impression the Spierig brothers had any sociopolitical agenda in mind from the start. What they wanted to do is make a slick looking vampire flick. In that respect, mission accomplished.

It’s not long before the film begins to show its true colors and the aforementioned action kicks it into high gear. That’s by no means an insult,  it's just what keeps “Daybreakers” from being great.


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