Posted by jakob187 (21675 posts) -

I haven't really seen anyone mentioning this flick, which seems like a bit of a surprise.  Maybe everyone was too busy going to see Youth in Revolt this week. 
 
Having seen the Spierig Brothers' previous film (the direct-to-DVD-in-U.S. Undead), I pretty much knew what I was in for with this flick.  That movie, for being a low budget Australian flick, was pretty good in its own right, and it presented some interesting ideas to the zombie genre.  I was hoping that Daybreakers could do the same thing for vampire flicks, as well as restore some of my recently lost faith in vampires as a whole. 
 
I'm glad to say that Daybreakers was a unique little piece of sci-fi/horror filmmaking that hosts many interesting ideas and presents them well enough, even if the film does fall flat at times with its execution.  The Spierig Brothers kick the movie off with some very stark and intriguing imagery.  A young child committing suicide by sitting outside waiting for the sun to rise, Uncle Sam posters looking for recruits to join the vampire army, coffee (read: brewed blood) with 20% blood content mixed with creamer...there is this really interesting setup where they show that society as we know it still goes on, just during the nighttime rather than the day.  The idea is simple:  what would it be like if the world's population were vampires, and less than 5% of the population were humans...and the blood supply is running thin? 
 
What happens when a blood supply runs out?  Well, you turn into a "subsider"...meaning that instead of looking like a human, you look like a hideous bat-like bi-pedal creature with a ferocity that is akin to a wild animal and a bloodthirst that can never seem to be quenched.  This adds an idea to the vampire mythos that is incredibly interesting:  a REASON to drink blood that isn't the typical pansy "well, I'm just hungry" excuse we've been given for centuries.  Our lead character, Edward (played by Ethan Hawke), is a hematologist working on a blood substitute to keep the vampire population from "subsiding", but he also refuses to drink human blood.  You can see the sign of his "subsiding" due to one of his ears being elongated (the first thing that happens when you start "subsiding"). 
 
There are other characters too:  Willem Dafoe playing a strong character named Elvis, who has an affinity for fast cars and The King...and a little secret that could help Edward solve the "problem" of vampirism; Sam Neill as Charles Bromley, the head of Bromley Marks Blood Pharmaceuticals, who is looking to find a blood substitute to keep vampires alive as well as possibly profit from human blood even more; Claudia Karvan as Audrey, a woman who trusts Edward very quickly and wants him to help the cause of humans to fight from becoming extinct...  The list goes on, and there's quite a few characters throughout the movie.  In short, you aren't watching the movie for the characters, which is kind of sad as they fill some interesting archetypes but are simply not that endearing.  It's just incredibly difficult to really LIKE any of the characters, but instead, you are trying to fight the rationale in your head of "which one is less evil than the others?". 
 
The real thing that makes this movie worthwhile is the allegories it presents, the questions it raises, and the interesting choices it makes in what to present and not present.  It's quite interesting that they never really explain HOW the vampire outbreak happened - only that it DID happen.  Maybe they did explain and I just wasn't paying as much attention as I should've...because I had a lot of questions going through my head while I watched it.  You never see a cross anywhere in the movie, as if religion were completely wiped off the planet at some point.  It's an interesting move, yet you have this story that Elvis goes through which basically talks about a resurrection; a rebirth of sorts.  It becomes the entire crux of the back half of the film, and yet there is no religious discussion whatsoever to it.  It's a nice, subtle touch.  There's also the allegory of capitalist economy, where human blood is becoming short in stock so the price keeps inflating to the point that the poor can no longer afford it.  In turn, they subside...and it eventually becomes such an epidemic that the subsiders are then chained up and executed en masse.  Eventually, the idea rolls around that if a blood substitute WERE found, would that stop the harvesting of human blood...or would it just make human blood more valuable? 
 
The biggest theme that I walked away with was the idea behind the cost of humanity.  Ethan Hawke delivers a very strong and powerful line:  "I've been a vampire so long that I forgot what it's like to be a human".  The tone, the look, and the honesty of the line really sat with me.  Maybe it's because it raised that big question:  are the humans terrorists or freedom fighters?  On one hand, they are fighting for the survival of their species and beliefs, but on the other hand...vampires don't get sick and never age. 
 
Essentially, that's what Daybreakers is to me:  a really good script with really great questions.  It may not answer them all, but I'm glad that it doesn't.  It gives me a reason to think, and it presents real world issues in a way that can be debated at a more rudimentary level.  While the performances are alright for what they need to be, and there are a couple of plot holes and sloppy scenes (how was Frankie able to stand inside of Cormac's Customs with the UAV "god rays" shining through on his face?), the movie as a whole works pretty well together and provides for some good laughs, decent drama, and excellent gore. 
 
I highly recommend it, and I hope to hear the debates for months to come until its release on DVD.

#1 Edited by jakob187 (21675 posts) -

I haven't really seen anyone mentioning this flick, which seems like a bit of a surprise.  Maybe everyone was too busy going to see Youth in Revolt this week. 
 
Having seen the Spierig Brothers' previous film (the direct-to-DVD-in-U.S. Undead), I pretty much knew what I was in for with this flick.  That movie, for being a low budget Australian flick, was pretty good in its own right, and it presented some interesting ideas to the zombie genre.  I was hoping that Daybreakers could do the same thing for vampire flicks, as well as restore some of my recently lost faith in vampires as a whole. 
 
I'm glad to say that Daybreakers was a unique little piece of sci-fi/horror filmmaking that hosts many interesting ideas and presents them well enough, even if the film does fall flat at times with its execution.  The Spierig Brothers kick the movie off with some very stark and intriguing imagery.  A young child committing suicide by sitting outside waiting for the sun to rise, Uncle Sam posters looking for recruits to join the vampire army, coffee (read: brewed blood) with 20% blood content mixed with creamer...there is this really interesting setup where they show that society as we know it still goes on, just during the nighttime rather than the day.  The idea is simple:  what would it be like if the world's population were vampires, and less than 5% of the population were humans...and the blood supply is running thin? 
 
What happens when a blood supply runs out?  Well, you turn into a "subsider"...meaning that instead of looking like a human, you look like a hideous bat-like bi-pedal creature with a ferocity that is akin to a wild animal and a bloodthirst that can never seem to be quenched.  This adds an idea to the vampire mythos that is incredibly interesting:  a REASON to drink blood that isn't the typical pansy "well, I'm just hungry" excuse we've been given for centuries.  Our lead character, Edward (played by Ethan Hawke), is a hematologist working on a blood substitute to keep the vampire population from "subsiding", but he also refuses to drink human blood.  You can see the sign of his "subsiding" due to one of his ears being elongated (the first thing that happens when you start "subsiding"). 
 
There are other characters too:  Willem Dafoe playing a strong character named Elvis, who has an affinity for fast cars and The King...and a little secret that could help Edward solve the "problem" of vampirism; Sam Neill as Charles Bromley, the head of Bromley Marks Blood Pharmaceuticals, who is looking to find a blood substitute to keep vampires alive as well as possibly profit from human blood even more; Claudia Karvan as Audrey, a woman who trusts Edward very quickly and wants him to help the cause of humans to fight from becoming extinct...  The list goes on, and there's quite a few characters throughout the movie.  In short, you aren't watching the movie for the characters, which is kind of sad as they fill some interesting archetypes but are simply not that endearing.  It's just incredibly difficult to really LIKE any of the characters, but instead, you are trying to fight the rationale in your head of "which one is less evil than the others?". 
 
The real thing that makes this movie worthwhile is the allegories it presents, the questions it raises, and the interesting choices it makes in what to present and not present.  It's quite interesting that they never really explain HOW the vampire outbreak happened - only that it DID happen.  Maybe they did explain and I just wasn't paying as much attention as I should've...because I had a lot of questions going through my head while I watched it.  You never see a cross anywhere in the movie, as if religion were completely wiped off the planet at some point.  It's an interesting move, yet you have this story that Elvis goes through which basically talks about a resurrection; a rebirth of sorts.  It becomes the entire crux of the back half of the film, and yet there is no religious discussion whatsoever to it.  It's a nice, subtle touch.  There's also the allegory of capitalist economy, where human blood is becoming short in stock so the price keeps inflating to the point that the poor can no longer afford it.  In turn, they subside...and it eventually becomes such an epidemic that the subsiders are then chained up and executed en masse.  Eventually, the idea rolls around that if a blood substitute WERE found, would that stop the harvesting of human blood...or would it just make human blood more valuable? 
 
The biggest theme that I walked away with was the idea behind the cost of humanity.  Ethan Hawke delivers a very strong and powerful line:  "I've been a vampire so long that I forgot what it's like to be a human".  The tone, the look, and the honesty of the line really sat with me.  Maybe it's because it raised that big question:  are the humans terrorists or freedom fighters?  On one hand, they are fighting for the survival of their species and beliefs, but on the other hand...vampires don't get sick and never age. 
 
Essentially, that's what Daybreakers is to me:  a really good script with really great questions.  It may not answer them all, but I'm glad that it doesn't.  It gives me a reason to think, and it presents real world issues in a way that can be debated at a more rudimentary level.  While the performances are alright for what they need to be, and there are a couple of plot holes and sloppy scenes (how was Frankie able to stand inside of Cormac's Customs with the UAV "god rays" shining through on his face?), the movie as a whole works pretty well together and provides for some good laughs, decent drama, and excellent gore. 
 
I highly recommend it, and I hope to hear the debates for months to come until its release on DVD.

#2 Edited by ThePhantomnaut (6197 posts) -

Blood = Oil?!
 
It's an interesting concept with some social commentary. Cool that it breaks away from the wimpy vamp craze. I might not plan to watch it in theaters but it's something to look out for in retail when tweens get Twihard again.

#3 Posted by JonathanMoore (1858 posts) -

This film had no Conclusion, it killed me and my friend inside.

#4 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6299 posts) -

Had Willem Dafoe not been in it this movie would've flown right under my radar. He's been making odd career choices lately, but I hope he did a good job in this one.

#5 Posted by PoppaKyle (219 posts) -

I really wanna see this movie. Thanks for your input man!
#6 Posted by pause422 (6188 posts) -

I'm going to see this on Friday or Saturday, I'll give my impression on it then. Actually interested in seeing a vampire movie that isn't for children.

#7 Posted by Amberella (163 posts) -
@JonathanMoore said:
"This film had no Conclusion, it killed me and my friend inside. "

This is the only thing I didn't like about the movie. Wish they'd have some type of conclusion. xD But other than that, I really enjoyed the movie. =]  The beginning was a bit intense and was a perfect start I think. The movie also made me think about how it would be to be a Vampire and such. The pro and cons. I think it was nicely put together.
#8 Posted by jakob187 (21675 posts) -
@JonathanMoore said:
" This film had no Conclusion, it killed me and my friend inside. "
I don't feel the same way.  I think the ending was perfectly fine.  To be honest, I don't see what could be done for a sequel if they considered doing it.  The movie had a pretty good conclusion to it that raised plenty of questions, as well as offering an interesting look at the values of greed and necessity.  There's a very "vicious cycle" feel to that ending, as there is no good answer.  There is only the fight for survival, and who will win in the end?  I mean, let's face it - the society by the end of that movie...is changed forever.
#9 Posted by Shocker (2339 posts) -

I thought the movie was interesting and it kept me entertained.  Overall I thought it was pretty good and I would recommend it as well.

#10 Posted by bea (1 posts) -

Agreed. Anything with Dafoe in it raises the bar.  I found with the discussion of vampire myths and metaphors.
 http://blogs.amctv.com/movie-news/2010/01/willem-dafoe-interview.php

#11 Posted by teh_destroyer (3567 posts) -

With Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe in it I am interested, , I will catch it on dvd.

#12 Posted by MrPickles (140 posts) -

Like several other people mentioned, this movies is fantastic except for the lack of an ending. Things like that cause me to rage inside. But overall I went in expecting this to be mediocre, even for the guys who created Undead, but it was a pretty fantastic movie.

#13 Edited by handlas (2683 posts) -
@JonathanMoore said:

" This film had no Conclusion, it killed me and my friend inside. "

I just saw this movie last night and thought the same thing.  When I walked out of the movie theater I said "It kinda ended in a weird place.  Everyone died and it was over..."
 
I guess you can say that the movie ended with the 3 main characters killing the people that know about the blood substitute.  But, other than that, it still ended kinda awkwardly and it wasn't even that long of a movie so there could of been time at the end to maybe conclude it a little better.
 
and that damn bat.  Popping out of random places.  I had enough of that after the first time it happened (ilke 3 seconds into the movie!).
 
Overall, tho, it was entertaining.  The concept was pretty kewl with vampires ruling the world and humans being cattle and the idea of a "cure".  It got pretty damn gory at the end tho....like, wow, that's a bit much.  I think the Subsiders were a little underutilized tho.