Film Review – Daybreakers

A bit silly, but also a good bit of fun, Daybreakers delivers the gore for another variation on the current cinematic trend of the undead.

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed all but a few humans into vampires that require a constant supply of human blood, to prevent them transforming further into grotesquely deformed and insane creatures. Humans are captured and farmed for their blood by large corporations, but there is estimated to be only one months supply of blood left in the world. With the general population gripped by panic, one corporation struggles to find a solution to the crisis, at any cost.

Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), is chief haematologist at the corporation that inhabits the perpetual night of the silver grey urban landscape. You know you're with the bad guys when the interior design looks like a Bang & Olufson catalogue. The identical, slick corporate housing is styled likewise, and bore more than a passing resemblance to another Hawke movie, Gattaca. It's a familiar world, but not one that shocks in the very real sense that say, zombie flick 28 Days Later did, or plays mysteriously as did The Matrix, and so it does rather well as a slick B-movie.

Sam Neill funds his vineyards back in New Zealand with a satisfactory performance as the nasty, besuited CEO and boss of aforementioned corporation. I guess it was only ever going to be him or Hugo Weaving for that one. Willem Defoe plays the country wildcard with the key to saving the city-folks, and a fondness for classic hotrods and rock n roll to warm the souls of those cold-hearted vampires.

The plot could be contested on one or two major points, but what the hell, with no grand agenda and just enough of a plot, it means more fun. There are aspirations to a commentary on corporate greed in the face of market forces, but it takes a back seat as bodies spontaneously explode when you least expect it, in Sam Raimi-esque comedy moments, and later there are zombie-like feeding sessions with the comedy ripping of limbs from torsos. I like my human rare please waiter.

Now see what you think, but I swear there are some tributes to 70s and 80s icons of film and TV. The montage building-the-gadget-with-welding-equipment? That's The A Team.
The scene where Ethan Hawke and co turn up at the Senator's log-cabin? That's the sequence in Star Wars where Luke discovers the farm has been roughed up, even down to the musical cues I swear! Also, in the last half of the film, Hawke appears to be wearing Han Solo's white shirt with black waistcoat combo, with ruffled hair to match. Finally, the end shot of a black American hotrod roaring down a country road toward the sunset? Mad Max. See if you can spot any more, or let me know if I'm going nuts, either will do.

A good, fun movie this one, don't pay too much attention to the plot and you'll be fine.


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