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MOVIE REVIEWS: DAYBREAKERS

by Dawn, January 9, 2010

OBS loves everything supernatural and that includes all forms of media for it. Today I bring you a double feature review of Daybreakers by OBS staff members Rose and Krystal.

Brought to you by OBS staff members Rose & Krystal

Name: Daybreakers
Rated: R
Running time: 93 minutes

Directors: Peter and Michael Spierig

Synopsis
The year is 2019. A mysterious plague has swept over the earth, transforming the majority of the world’s population into vampires. Humans are now an endangered, second-class species – forced into hiding as they are hunted and farmed for vampire consumption to the brink of extinction.

It’s all up to Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a vampire researcher who refuses to feed on human blood, to perfect a blood substitute that might sustain vampires and spare the few remaining humans. But time and hope are running out – until Ed meets Audrey (Claudia Karvan), a human survivor who leads him to a startling medical breakthrough. Armed with knowledge that both humans and vampires will kill for, Ed must battle his own kind in a deadly struggle that will decide the fate of the human race. © Lionsgate

Review

The Story by Krystal
Daybreakers was written and directed by the brothers Peter and Michael Spierig and bought by Lionsgate in2004. These two brothers probably don’t sound familiar to you and that’s because they are. Completely new to the Hollywood scene, these new faces have brought us a truly original story that can be called anything from a horror with lots of gore to a thought evoking tale of humanity with subtle undertones.

Another vampire movie, following the release of the Twilight Saga, one might think Daybreakers just another movie trying to ride the supernatural teen angst gravy train. Luckily for us all, it is far from this. The movie, categorized as a horror, definitely belongs there and I’d never want it to change. On the surface the vampire society is a clean and civil world, but underneath it is a world on the brink of burning to ash. And as the vampires slowly starve, they become more violent. Nowhere near teen or angst, these vampires are dark, dangerous and nowhere near seductive (well maybe after all it is Ethan Hawke).

That covers the violence, but what about the thought evoking tale? In a world where humanity is going extinct and the vampires are running out of blood, no one is safe. The vampires seek to hunt down and harvest every human until there are none left. This brings up the ultimately common morality issue of what’s right and what’s wrong and who really is the dominant race. Also below the fight for survival, there are subtle undertones of humanities overuse of natural resources, with blood being a metaphor. When is it too late to start looking for a substitute and will a substitute really be the answer or will a cure, a change in the way humanity thinks, be the only real way to solve the crisis.

Dark, original and thought provoking, this movie is a great watch for anyone who can appreciate the subtle undertones of a film and still love the gore and violence that it embraces.

The Visual Look by Rose
Visually stimulating, the cinematography has a slight film noir feel to it, all awash in dark muted blue tones during the night scenes, which are only highlighted with subtle tones of red, but of course, for this is fitting. Daytime scenes are quite bright, most likely to emphasize contrast between the two ‘worlds’.

The Acting by Krystal
Ethan Hawke as Edward Dalton: Oh Edward… oh wait wrong Edward. Over the years we have seen Ethan Hawke do all types of films from Gattaca to Training Day to Great Expectations. While I have seen much better performances, as listed above, he still make a great vampire. His cool almost uncaring demeanor is a rouse to cover the truth behind his motivation of finding a blood substitute.

Michael Dorman as Frankie Dalton: Probably the most surprising character and actor in this cast, Michael plays Edwards younger brother and ‘maker’. This New Zealand born Australian living actor doesn’t just play a pretty face though, he’s the servant to Bromley’s demands and the dark core of what humans are capable of when they don’t want to lose their lap of luxury. On the other hand, Frankie’s role is not just one of servitude and darkness; he has the pleasure of being the character with the biggest character arch (quite possibly the only other one with an arch besides Edward himself). From betraying his brother all the way to his great sacrifice at the end, Michael portrays Frankie with an emotional range and openness uncommon among the rest of the characters.

Overall
I enjoyed that the movie was overall serious in tone, and didn’t get carried away with itself, as some movies in this genre do. Albeit, there are a few funny one-liners here and there to break up the tension. My favorite one is said by Elvis after Dalton asks him “Is it safe?” to which Elvis replies “As safe as bare backing a five dollar hooker”. Classic! I also liked that the combat/car chase scenes weren’t gratuitous, they all lent themselves to story, instead of being used as mind numbing theatrics.

From start to finish, Daybreakers is one hell of a ride, you should surely get on.

Rating: 9/10 stars

For more on Daybreakers by both reviewers, check out their individual reviews here:

Daybreakers by Rose HERE
Daybreakers by Krystal HERE

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