Daybreakers beats its wings brashly, but there is little to keep the blood pumping.
The year is 2019. Ten years after an unexplained pandemic struck the earth, the world’s population has been transformed almost entirely into vampires, rendering the few remaining humans in hiding as little more than cattle. In a stab at society’s corporate inclinations, the dominant species has found a way to make the most (financially) out of a bad situation, mercilessly squeezing every last drop of blood out of the surviving humans.
Aping the food and fuel crisis faced by humankind today, the flow of blood begins to run dry and the vampire world is faced with a dilemma as its occupants' primary source of sustenance rapidly depletes. The fate of vampirekind is now in the hands of its leading haematologist, Edward Dalton (Hawke), whose quest for a substitute leads him inadvertently towards a cure for vampirism altogether.
As timely as the Spierig brothers futuristic fang frenzy would appear, Daybreakers has been gathering dust on the Hollywood slate since filming wrapped back in 2007. While production woes might go some way in explaining why the film has been so submissively swept under the pre-awards season shag pile, with such a distinguished cast this modest release nonetheless comes as something of a surprise.
Still, to say that Daybreakers is far from the best vampire film since last year’s genre redefining Let the Right One In might not sound like much in the way of condemnation, but considering 2009 will most likely be looked back on as The Year of the Bat, its insignificance is hard to ignore.
Though a long way from Tomas Alfredson's Swedish masterpiece, Daybreakers is at least commendable for its directorial ambition. In presenting a disquieting reality, the Spierig brothers may be Wachowski wannabees, but in familiar territory such a ballsy turn is at least a welcome change.
It's just a shame they relinquish their vision so quickly, although casting Willem Dafoe as a gunslinging redneck at least ensures that while Daybreakers is doom, at least it's not all gloom. It's big and brash, but were it not for Weta's visionary special effects work, there would be little to keep the blood pumping.
Vampires were so 2009...
The wizards at Weta embellish a premise that misses the mark more often than it hits.
Fangs but no fangs.