Sunday, January 10, 2010
Quick Synopsis: An undisclosed virus transforms the majority of the world's population into bloodsuckers. The remaining humans are hunted and farmed for their blood by way of a massive pharmaceutical company, but the supply is getting more and more limited. With a synthetic substitute still unproven, the vamps are growing desperate while the few humans left continue their own search for a reason to live.
There were a few interesting variations on the mythology and at least to my knowledge, this is the first feature that shows us a world completely overcome by vampires (Dusk of the Dead?), but Daybreakers, unfortunately, is far from good. The writing was already on the wall seeing as this movie apparently sat on the shelf for almost 2 years and likely was just now released to profit off the Twilight-led popularization of the sub-genre, so I guess I only have myself to blame...but that's not much fun so here's who else fucked up:
-The Spierig Brothers: As with their debut feature, the zomb-alien Undead (2003), it doesn't seem like they know if they want to be taken seriously or if they are embracing the idea of purposefully making "B-movies." Daybreakers does not try to be funny, though I laughed more than I did during the comedic moments of Undead. And while its production values were adequate for the low budget, there is some truly awful camerawork that sucks all the tension out of major scenes.
-The Actors: I can only assume that Willem Dafoe fell behind on his mortgage, made some unwise investments, maybe he has a kid in college with huge tuition costs, whatever it may be, this was clearly nothing more than a paycheck to him. Ethan Hawke at least seemed to be trying though it should be clear why this was his first major leading role in almost a decade. Side note: Has he seriously not changed his hairstyle in 20+ years? Throw a thrift store buttondown on him and I would have sworn I was watching Reality Bites 2. Sam Neill was okay, but one-note. I didn't recognize anyone else.
-The Studio: Like I stated above, this should not have been released theatrically and was likely just a cash grab because of how overexposed vamps are right now. Though in fairness, it is January, which historically is a dumping ground for everything that didn't exactly turn out as expected.
-The Sun: Plays a major role in how vamps are returned to their human form and makes for one of the most confusing and just plain retarded twists in a long time.
There were moments, few and far between, that stood out and in the right hands, this might have made for an interesting spin on the well-worn cliches we all know and love. But then, there's only so far potential can take us.