After hitting critical success with their film Undead, The Spierig Brothers were given not only more money to play with, but an all-star Hollywood cast to fill their toy box. The result? Daybreakers, a semi-apocalyptic vampire flick that tells the story of a world where humans are an endangered species, and the world’s vampire population needs to come up with a way to either come up with more blood sometime soon, or a cure to their vampirism.
Daybreakers was released theatrically this past Friday nationwide, and stars Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, and Willem Dafoe.
Check out my review after the jump!
Daybreakers is definitely an example of the visual flair that the Spierig Brothers have become known for – you get a mix of guys like Michael Bay, The Wachowski Brothers, Zach Snyder, and even a little Sam Raimi thrown in for good measure. While this leads to a 90% excellent looking movie, you also, unfortunately, get the excesses that all of those directors are known for. I found myself giggling at a couple of the melodramatic scenes, filled with loud, booming heroic music, beautiful sunsets with sillouetted characters walking towards it.
Still, despite a bit of the feeling of being overdone, the film is definitely beautiful and, if not seen theatrically, certainly Blu-Ray worthy. When you get past the visual flair though, you also get a pretty gripping story that, while not entirely original, is certainly interesting enough to keep you entertained. I’ve never been a huge fan of Ethan Hawke, and he plays a little bit of the cliched, “vampire with a heart of gold” part in the film, but he does the most he can with the material. Willem Dafoe, another guy I don’t normally like, also managed to do a great job in the film, as did Sam Neill, vamping it up (ha) as the main antagonist.
Daybreakers doesn’t drag at all during its running time – from the beginning to the end, the momentum never falters, and the film, despite not really having a ton of action, feels action-packed. You get some great set pieces, and some great ideas. Unfortunately, you get a bit too much story for a 98-minute film. I felt like I missed parts of the story, and things seem to escalate in a short amount of time to a point that feels a little disjointed, all while another story continues largely unaffected by something that seems like it should affect it.
I’m really thankful we’re getting so many anti-Twilight vampire material from Hollywood – this film is a good mix of the romanticized Vampires we’ve gotten used to, along with the brutal Nosferatu-esque vampires that manage to lend to many of the film’s scares. Daybreakers is a good way to spend an evening, and though it may not end up changing the way we view the vampire film, is a good start to the Spierig’s Hollywood output – I look forward to seeing what’s next from them!