Day breakers is set in a 2019 dystopian sci-fi future where Vampires rule the world after an unknown virus turns majority of the worlds population into Vampires and now humans are the endangered species, at only 5% of the worlds population, which are hunted and farmed for their blood, but with the human race facing extinction and blood supplies running dangerously low a new food source is needed to sustain the population of Vampires.
So introducing another Edward the Vampire, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), who’s a hematologist working for the company that farms humans for blood. Edward is given the burdening responsibility in finding an artificial substitute for human blood to prevent Vampires turning into a vicious vampire killing Feral mutation due to starvation, a problem that is increasing within the poor society of the Vampire world.
Problem for Edward is that he has sympathy for the human race and gets involved with a group of human survivors that’s lead by Lionel ‘Elvis’ Cormac (Willem Dafoe) a human that claims to have once been a Vampire but was cured. Could this be the solution for the blood shortage, a cure to change everyone back. But that is the dilemma of the story, if you could live forever with no disease or pain (unless you walked into sunlight and fried) why would you want to change back into a human.
The film starts off brilliantly showing how Vampires live at night, living as they did as humans by commuting to work on the train and buying coffee (although with 20% blood in it) for their journey. They have adapted buildings, cars and their homes to prevent sunlight leaking in with a daily public address announcement warning that sunrise is due within the hour and as well as having alarms notifying you that your lights are on on your vehicle, there are alarms letting you know UV levels are high outside. It’s a well thought out concept.
Head of the Bromley Marks company that farms humans for blood is Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), the villain of the film that has become as complacent as almost everyone else as the stocks of humans diminishes and cares little for both races as long as he makes money due to the rises prices of blood stocks. There is a subplot involving Charles Daughter Alison (Isabel ‘ruined Transformers’ Lucas) that seemed completely pointless but led to a nice execution scene.
Edward joins the human survivors and learns how Elvis was turned back to a human, the idea is dubious but well carried out but difficult to bite as a solution to cure Vampires back to human, but to progress the story it works well and gives hope to the Human race and also gives hope to Charles Bromley as he can use this procedure to create more stocks of humans instead of using it to cure the world of Vampires which is what Edward and Elvis want to do, is another interesting dilemma for the characters to face.
Overall the film is a excellent idea, not executed as well as it probably read off the page but never-the-less it has enough to entertain and with Ethan Hawke in top form as Edward and Willem Dafoe clearly enjoying himself, the two actors make Day Breakers a decent film and without them I doubt it would have been anywhere near as enjoyable.
Sam Neill is solid enough as the blood sucking CEO but apart from them the rest of the cast were quite insignificant as characters and were just fodder for everyone else. The Spierig Brothers, who directed, competently make the film work with a superb visual look and use ideas that work well with the characters and the concept.
The Good: The story was brilliant, The Vampires are dam cool putting the Twilight versions to shame and the mutated Feral Vampires, that were seriously underused, were a formidable enemy to both humans and Vampires that will probably be explored more in a possible sequel but should have been more of an enemy force in this film instead of Charles Bromley’s business minded villainy.
The armour of the Vampire troops that enable day walking for Vampires was nice and of course the blood and gore was very realistically done with an experiement on a volunteer vampire of the effects of being injected with the artificial blood was a real pleaser as too was a main characters death in a lift at the end that was brutally pleasing.
The Bad: The plot went a bit crazy towards the end, Isabel Lucas was just used as eye candy in a pointless story arc, Cheesy dialogue, slowly paced at times and a desperate attempt to set up a sequel.
Day Breakers is well worth a watch for a new, interesting and smart Vampire story that I really liked and completely forgive it’s flaws.
Day Breakers is out now.