Two-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, a researcher in the year 2019, in which an unknown plague has transformed the world’s population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, vampires must capture and farm every remaining human, or find a blood substitute before time runs out. However, a covert group of vampires makes a remarkable discovery, one which has the power to save the human race. – Lionsgate
60 out of 100
The immediate gut-reaction for a film like Daybreakers is, “Oh, great… yet another vampire film because that genre hasn’t been exploited enough over the past five years,” and to be honest, that was our reaction when we first saw trailers for this in late 2009. The problem for Daybreakers and most likely the reason for its miserable box-office numbers ($51 million gross, foreign and domestic) is that’s also exactly how the producers marketed the film in some misguided attempt to hop on the bandwagon of the sucesses of the other popular vampire franchises such as Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. That was a very bad marketing decision.
Daybreakers is a very original and unique twist on the vampire genre in that it’s not really a horror film at all. It’s a classic Science Fiction story that not only deals with science as a backdrop, it also deals with the many “what if” and “how would you react” scenarios about the questions of exploitation of others for your own immortality. How does a society preserve its humanity when mortality has been taken away? As far as vampire films go, there is surprisingly little graphic violence until the very end of the film because, frankly, it’s really not necessary to progress the story.
Where the film ultimately suffers is that it is very short coming in at 1 hour 37 minutes. For a science fiction story with such an original concept there is far too little exposition. It not only leaves a lot of questions unanswered but it’s so quick that the audience doesn’t really have an opportunity to become emotionally attached to the characters or the plot. The performances from DaFoe and Hawke and the rest of the cast are fine but you really don’t have any sense of a vested interest in any of these characters, and of course if the audience can’t relate to the characters they have no reason to really care about the story. Interestingly enough, this promotional clip (that was not shown in the film) gives more of a back story for the plot than the entire film does.
Daybreakers, albeit not the best film, is an enjoyable film and worth your time if you like a unique Sci Fi story. Netflix subscribers can watch it as part of their subscription through the Netflix streaming service.
Here’s the official Lionsgate trailer for Daybreakers. This is not the thirty-second TV spot that leads you to believe that it’s just a another vampire/horror film.