"Living in a world where vampires are the dominate species is about as safe as bare backing a 5 dollar whore. "
Directed by: Michael & Peter Spiering
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan, Isabel Lucas
This surprisingly high quality Australian vampire-apocalypse film is certainly a tenner well spent in the local multiplex. Aside from it's subtle but adorable allegory for our own over-reliance on oil, this is also a very entertaining, very nicely made film. It is set in "the future" where vampires have very nearly wiped out the human race. Stupidly, they forgot to make provisions for their own need for blood and have found themselves in a sticky predicament whereby they must come up with a synthetic blood replacement. This proves more difficult than anticipated as vampire haematologist Edward (the only name for any respectable vamp these days) soon discovers. A side effect of blood deprivation is that the pale-faced ones find themselves turning into ugly, desperate, scavenging monsters. Edward goes off with some of the last remaining humans in search of a promised "cure" for vampirism. This, of course, viewed as the ultimate treason, Edward must outrun his own kind in his quest to save them.
A world without humans is clean, sterile and mostly painted in shades of grey. With its noir style and steely palette, Daybreakers ticks all the boxes in depicting "the future". Overdone stylistics aside however, this is an enjoyable lark, full of imagination, excitement and passion. Despite being a seemingly run-of-the-mill (especially this year) story, it proves to be a gripping one, full of twists and turns and it actually manages to create a sense of nostalgia about the human race. It isn't a film that is full of scares but it doesnt shy away from gore either. Part of its likeability is its maturity. The Spiering Brothers don't try to BE anything, they just tell their story and produce the best performances as possible out of it's fantastic Aussie cast (except Hawke and Dafoe). Some recognisable Aussie soap opera faces make a welcome appearance, most notably Home & Away's lovely Isabel Lucas who proves she's more than just a very, very pretty face and star of The Secret Life of Us Michael Dorman (who also did a great job in this year's Triangle) and Claudia Karvan. Ethan Hawke is his usual dependable self, playing the conflicted Edward with a nice level of emo and humanity (insofar as a vamp can possess this)
This is a great cinema movie, as it is a visual treat and is clearly made for big-screen consumption. Not the deepest or most intelligent film this year but certainly quality. Your tolerence for over-stylised "Matrix-looking" fare will be a factor in your enjoyment of Daybreakers but if you give it a chance, there more to it than gloss.