Daybreakers (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/01/2010

Enjoyable, inventive and stylishly directed thriller with some nice ideas, a handful of impressive action sequences and strong performances from Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill.

What's it all about?
Directed by The Spierig Brothers, Daybreakers is a sci-fi vampire thriller set in 2019, when 95% of the world's population have become vampires, the remaining humans have all gone into hiding and the blood supplies are running perilously low. It gets worse: prolonged lack of blood causes vampires to regress into slavering, blood-thirsty monsters.

Ethan Hawke stars as Edward Dalton, a blood specialist employed by pharmaceutical kingpin Mister Bromley (Sam Neill), who is charged with finding a substitute for human blood that won't cause the recipient to vomit and explode.

After Edward helps out a group of human fugitives, he meets Lionel 'Elvis' Cormick (Willem Dafoe), who tells him that he used to be a vampire but was cured by a freak accident involving sunshine and water. Edward and Elvis frantically work together to develop a cure, but Bromley has set the vampire military on their trail, believing Edward to be a traitor.

The Good
With all the current vampire-based franchises flapping around, a new vampire film needs to do something a little bit different if it's going to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. Fortunately, Daybreakers manages that in a number of ways: the script is extremely inventive, with a well thought-out vision of a vampire-dominated world in 2019 (including an underground walkway system and day-proof cars) and there are some extremely effective scenes, such as a disturbing extermination sequence (allegory-lovers will have a field day).

Hawke and Dafoe are both excellent and there's strong support from a suitably sinister Sam Neill. The film also features a number of stylishly directed, inventively staged set pieces and action sequences, from an exploding patient to a home invasion to the film's central highlight, a shoot-out-slash-car chase where the bullet holes cause searing shafts of sunlight to penetrate the car.

The Bad
The only problem with the film is that, having slavishly observed all the usual vampire rules (aversion to sunlight, reliance on blood, stakes through the heart, even bat-like creatures), the sunlight-and-water cure seems both ridiculous and poorly thought-out.

Worth seeing?
This is an enjoyable sci-fi vampire thriller with strong performances and some impressive action sequences. Worth seeing.

Film Trailer

Daybreakers (15)
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Content updated: 20/09/2018 09:32

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