I’m a big fan of the Spierig brother’s debut effort Undead. Sure it was overlong but it had something the zombie genre doesn’t get very often, innovation. The vampire genre certainly needed an uplift and along with Dark City production director George Liddle I had high hopes for Daybreakers. But was it any good? In a word, yes.
Set in the near dystopic future a virus attacks the human race turning most people into vampires. Humans then become the only food source on the planet. They’re hunted and farmed. Ethan Hawke is a lead scientist designing a blood substitute because the food supply, ie humans, is almost extinct. What he finds however might just be a cure, and it can’t come too soon as vampires deprived of human blood turn into non thinking mutated bat/man hybrid monsters.
Filled with action and cool makeup effects and oozing style Daybreakers is a fun watch. The plot moves at a quick pace and the story is strong. I read that the directors were unhappy with their smallish budget and weren’t able to focus as much on the monster vampires as they would have liked but I felt the mix of sci-fi, action, horror, and suspense was quite good, as well as a certain degree of emotional realism and intelligence. There is an obvious political agenda here but its not overwhelming or preachy. It’s there but it doesn’t distract. My only complaint is that the usually good Willem Dafoe is terrible. He’s supposed to be a southern man but his drawl keeps slipping in and out making his performance nearly laughable. Hell the movie even has a pretty cool ending which is saying alot for films like these. Blade 3 or Resident evil 2 anyone?
The Australian Spierig Brothers are a new horror force to be reckoned with. Having written, directed, and done special effects for Undead and Daybreakers, these guys know how to do it all. Daybreakers is a fast paced fun ride that also provides food for thought without being too overt. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait 6 years for their next release.