Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Writers: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill
Idea is a tricky thing.
June is my favorite month of the year. Why? Well, for many reasons – freedom, time, no worries, doing the things I didn't have the time for in autumn, winter, spring. And also „True Blood” premieres in June and nowadays it seems like it's the only truly good vampire series we have left.. And I always loved vampires stories – books, movies, series. I was never fond of „Blade” but whenever I got a chance, I watched it either way, I saw „Dracula”, Underworld series, Twilight series, „Queen of the Damned”...and of course the best vampire movie ever made, the unrivaled „Interview with the vampire”, many times. Even if the movie itself is mediocre like „30 days of night” I still enjoy watching it because of the subject. But sometimes the best ideas and the best myths cannot rescue the movie.
The premise of „Daybreakers” is very promising – the vampire „virus” attacks people and they treat it as blessing – no diseases, no death. Soon there are more and more vampires and human race faces extinction – humans are being hunted for blood and vampire doctors look for blood substitute. Worse yet – the blood deprived vampires turn into primitive monsters and create danger for everyone. It's like the cross between “The Matrix” and “Blade”. The promotional materials spoke of the cross between “The Matrix” and “Twilight” which I really don't understand. I think half of Twilight audience would puke their guts out watching “Daybreakers”, actually. It is also like "I am legend" a little bit, if you think about it. Both movies have something else in common - they suck.
The beginning of the film is very good – homages to well known vampire myths (no reflection in mirrors), interesting visual side (fantastic metro scene), omnipresent cigarette smoke, terrific opening credits – definitely the best opening credits sequence since „Watchmen”. But then, somewhere around the scene where Ethan Hawke's character meets humans and escapes with them, the movie turns from promising to utterly awful.
The characters are not only one dimensional, incredibly boring and cliche – joke-throwing leader of the resistance nicknamed Elvis, vampire doctor who refuses to drink human blood and his love interest, who is just so dull and tedious I cannot imagine anyone being bothered enough by her capture to actually go rescue her. No charisma, nothing – had I been on Hawke's character place and someone told me she was taken I'd go “Who?”. The cast must have been embarrassed to be in that film (Sam Neill is also here by the way). although the movie is still step up from „Antichrist” for Dafoe, at least here nobody smashes his penis with a rock and he didn't have any sex scenes (no, just no) or witnessed enlightened foxes. But Hawke? That dude appeared in so many great movies - “Before Sunrise”, “Before Sunset”, “Gattaca”, “Before the devil knows you're dead”, “Training day” and I'm sure I'm forgetting many others. He is not a great actor, in fact he is always the same, but it's a rare case that I don't really mind. I don't know why he chose to be in this movie, money maybe. As for the actress who plays the character whose name I forgot as soon as I heard it, I won't even bother to look her up. She was that bad and insignificant to absolutely everything in this movie.
The screenplay promptly turns into sheer stupidity when we find out that if you actually expose vampire to the sun he is cured and he is human again. I know that recently directors and writers have been looking for new things in vampire stories - the vampires hunt for mountain lions and sparkle, they drink japanese substitute for blood, they even walk around in sunlight. But that idea is so ridiculous I couldn't handle it and I even handled the celibacy idea in Twilight. That reveal and the incredibly dumb ending murdered, in a violent way, any good impression the movie may have made on me at the very beginning.
I'd recommend this film only to the ones who like dark atmosphere (which quickly perishes from the movie), gore (rather ridiculous scenes, but the blood is flowing profusely in this one) and vampires – although here they are no more than gross monsters or lost humans turned immortal. Everyone else – don't bother or watch some of the classic vampire movies, without mad science and new approach, which seems to be the worst thing in modern vampire movies.