We're all familiar with vampires. For as long as anyone can remember there has been the mythological legend of the vampires. If you are unfamiliar with them, then allow me to enlighten you. Vampires are creatures supposedly born of rabies. They pray on humans and suck their blood out, and like to say, "Bleh!" Sounds terrifying, no? Well, they used to be terrifying. In recent years the tender minds of our population have become corrupted. We now think that vampires are sweet loving creatures that are supposed to be there to catch you when you fall, tell you that you're special and call you cute things like "Spider-monkey." Why? What happened to us so that we would think such a dumb thing could possibly be the truth?! The culprit for this epidemic is a vampire poser known as Edward Cullen. Edward is supposed to be a vampire. But I'll blog about that some other time. If you want to know what kind of vampire Mr. Cullen is, then take everything you know about vampires and then turn it upside down... isn't the result gruesome? Doesn't the image in your mind make you want to vomit, or hit yourself in the face? No? Take a look at the picture below. Maybe it'll change your mind.
Summing things up, modern day vampires suck. Enter Daybreakers. Daybreakers is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the modern day vampire film. Daybreakers is a vampire film where the vampires have taken over the world. They make up the majority of the world's population, and over the years they've managed established a decent society where they're civilized; they live in apartments, go to work, and even have their own bloody Star Bucks. (Yummy, right?) However, they still can't go in the sun. The vampires have established this head-company that hunts humans down and farms them for their sweet delicious warm blood. (I'm being detailed today.) They then distribute the blood around to various other companies, where they can give it out to the public, etc. It's a system that has successfully worked for years, but now they've run into one little problem...
They're running out of humans to farm for blood. This wouldn't be a problem, but if they don't drink their daily dose of human blood, then they begin to mutate into these strange and horrific mindless monsters. (Pictured left.) It's almost like they're zombie vampires. Which to me is not only awesome, but a truly terrifying creature.
The plot essentially revolves around Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke). Dalton is the head vampire hematologist and is also working on finding a blood substitute so that he can save the vampire race from ultimate anarchy. If he doesn't find one by the end of the month, then all of the vampires are essentially screwed. I won't say how, but Edward some how ends up joining the humans to fight back for their humanity. He joins the ranks of an ex-vampire named Lionel 'Elvis' Cormac (Willem Dafoe), and learns that he's discovered something far more valuable than a blood substitute. A cure for vampirism. From there, it's a full scale war between vampires and humans. It's intense, and very very bloody.
The acting for the most part was fantastic. Ethan Hawke portrays Edward Dalton as a conflicted character that you can root for. He not not only pulls off a humane vampire but a pretty awesome almost action hero type of character that you want to survive. Like I said before, you can root for him. I don't remember the name of the antagonist, but he pulls off an awesome performance.
Daybreakers is a vampire film like no other that you've seen. Never before have vampires been handled in a way that makes them feel like monsters and humane at the same time. They feel like vampires, but they also feel humane in the fact that the characters aren't flat. Unlike Edward Cullen, they have real personalities, and feelings. Instead of loving the vampires, you fear them in a way that you haven't in far too many years. Especially the zombie/vampire things; when those things first enter the movie I was a little freaked out. They're really gross. The movie also plays heavily on the idea of Pathos. When the vampires turn into these mindless monsters, you find yourself sympathizing with them. I won't say when, but there is a part of the film that makes you feel very sorry for the vampires. It is a sad film, and also a very dark film. Not just visually, but... in every way. The concept to Daybreakers is dark, violent and disturbing. The film shows many disturbing elements of humanity including murder, substance abuse, cannibalism and more. The film is an interesting take on a genre, and could've been a genre defying film.
The presentation and design to Daybreakers was very interesting. When the film circles around the vampires the film looks almost black and white, almost like it was symbolizing that they're dead. The blood also looks almost black like it too is a great symbol of death. But when the film shows the humans it takes on a sepia tone golden look, showing more life in a dying world. Everything relating to the vampires and humans contrasts with each other. The vampires are black and white and the humans are golden and colorful.
I must also mention the incredible use of sound in the film. Mostly due to the films terrifying sounds, you get shivers up and down your spine when the vampire/zombie freaks come out. The scariest part about these freaks of nature are the sound effects that they make. The musical score was also fantastic. It wasn't one of the best scores composed, but it was from a new composer, and I thoroughly enjoyed the music in the film. Unlike Twilight, it had real music.
Daybreakers is by no means flawless. The film isn't without its corny dialogue, and has some moments that made the audience laugh. The pacing to the film slowed down significantly in some parts, which resulted in me checking my watch. The ending was also unsatisfying. The film could have been a half hour longer to give out some more character development and story telling. I think that was my biggest problem with the film. I must also mention how bloody the film was. I love blood and gore in movies. But this film was so bloody that it was borderline funny at some parts, at least to me. The film had several moments where I found the extent that the blood was used to be laughable. Overall though, blood wasn't a bad thing, it was for the most part really cool. The film also runs on a small budget, so some of the special effects looked like rubbish; but this wasn't a problem, since special effects don't make a movie. However, I'm willing to excuse all of my problems with the film just because it was such an interesting take on the vampire film, and because it was a smart film. A part from a few silly moments, the film was very smart and well thought out, and I appreciated that about the film.
If you're looking for a dark drama, with maybe some real and zombified vampires, then you'll love Daybreakers. It is a very unique experience, and I would recommend checking it out simply because it is a very smart film that has an interesting message.
Musical Score 8.3/10
Replay Value 9.0/10
Total Score: 8.9/10