Thursday, September 27, 2012

Movie Review: Daybreakers

 Daybreakers presents an interesting extrapolation from the vampire concept.  In 2009, there is a plague caused by a vampire bat which turns the majority of humanity into vampires; they can be harmed or killed by sunlight but are otherwise immortal and impervious to damage or disease.  The down-side is that the need human blood to survive.  Many people who were not victims of the plague initially underwent their transformation voluntarily to avoid dying of some illness like cancer.  As the vampire population became the majority, humans began being rounded-up and harvested for their blood, but still not enough human blood existed to feed the vampires.  As vampires experience blood-starvation, their minds and bodies transform, becoming less intelligent and more bat-like, attacking human and vampires alike.  

 While the government struggles to manage the society, hunt for humans, and control the "subsiders" (vampires who have been effected by blood-starvation), the Bromely Marks Pharmaceutical Company is counting on the brilliant yet somewhat squeamish Edward Dalton, a hematologist, so create a viable synthetic blood.  He has been promised by the company's CEO, Charles Bromely, that the creation of a synthetic blood-substitute will not only save the vampires, but will also end their dependency on human blood.

Being Vampires has also made being Amish very chic.
 Dejected by his own failure to find a viable substitute and the knowledge that the current blood-supply will not last a month, Dalton accidentally runs another vehicle off the road, only to discover that the occupants are human.  Dalton, knowing that the approaching authorities will capture the humans and place them in the blood-harvester, hides them in his car and tells the police that they ran off.  The leader of the humans, Audrey, gets Dalton's name and occupation from his ID badge before driving away.

For the cost of a cup of coffee, you could feed a starving subsider for a month.

 Dalton is sympathetic to the human cause, and is contacted by Audrey who makes an interesting proposal; she may have a way to make him human again.  She introduces Dalton to Lionel "Elvis" Cornack, an auto-mechanic who claims to have once been a vampire when due to a freak accident which exposed his full body for an instant to sunlight made him human again.  The three make a break from the authorities, including Dalton's brother, and are in a race to duplicate Cornack's accident and find a cure for vampirism, which would be bad business for a powerful pharmaceutical company and those who benefit from being vampires.  

No job, no bills, BDSM, no worries!
 The film is well-done all-around.  The acting is solid, with Ethan Hawke, William DeFoe, and Samuel Neil.  The concept is intriguing and the story is well written.  The special-effects are top-notch, but also minimized, with the subsiders being an effective mix of traditional special effects and CGI.  The film provides some laughs and includes enough traditional vampire lore to keep fans feeling they are in familiar territory while adding some new and modern nuances (blood coffee, cars with opaque windows and digital displays for day-time driving).

 Even if you are not a horror film fan, this movie is worth watching.



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