Directors(s) – Michael Spierig (Winchester, Jigsaw) and Peter Spierig (Winchester Jigsaw)
Starring – Ethan Hawke (The Purge, Sinister), Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire, Spider-Man), and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Event Horizon)
Release Date – 2009
Rating – 3.5/5
4K Release – 3/5
Tagline – “The battle between immortality and humanity is on”
When I was in college I would often go to the theater to check out whatever caught my eye that weekend. I went with my ex, my wife when we started dating, my friends, and I even went alone a few times. There is something special about watching a movie in a theatrical setting when compared to a home viewing. I watched mostly horror but there was other genres that I would venture into if I thought the movie was interesting.
It was one of my many trips to the theater that I watch the 2009 sci-fi horror flick Daybreakers. The Twilight Saga was still a popular thing at the time so vampires, much like zombies now, was a guaranteed profit. I liked the movie and I purchased it sometime after the release for my collection. Recently, it was announced that the film was getting a new 4K Ultra HD release and I was lucky enough to get a review copy.
**Spoiler Alert**The world has succumbed to vampires when most of the world’s population was infected by a bat carrying the disease. Now they are struggling to feed the masses with humans in hiding and the ones they do find are farmed for their blood. An epidemic is now gripping the vampires. The blood shortage is resulting in starved vampires mutating into more batlike creatures that feed on each other. A synthetic blood is in development but Dr. Edward Dalton (Hawke) finds a cure for vampirism. A human, who was once a vampire, has learned of a way to jump start the heart ending vampirism. **Spoiler Alert**
I liked Daybreakers and watched it several times since my first viewing but it has been several years since I gave it another spin. I was curious how it would hold up.
The acting in this one is fantastic. We have an amazing cast with actors one would not expect to see in a vampire sci-fi horror film. Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Niell are all fantastic. This would be the first in a string of horror movies starring Hawke. He is a strong lead and very versatile in his roles. His approach to the vampire is unusual but works for the sake of the story. Dafoe is another amazing actor that brings an unforgettable character from the film to life. In fact, his performance is my favorite in the film.
The story for this one is a little goofy but it works for what it is. A world ruled by vampires is about to crumble due to lack of blood. This is a solid baseline for a vampire flick. We then get these add ons that works as well like the fully mutated vampires, the forests on fire due to vampiric animals getting exposed to sunlight, and the race for a cure work as well. Sure, a few moments make you roll your eyes but the overall film has solid pacing and a story that does play with your imagination.
Finally, this is a real bloody films The practical effects are what you would expect from a film with this kind of budget but the visual effects did not age well. The green screen shots look like shit and the CGI is very laughable. Overall, Daybreakers was a solid film when it was released and still a fun watch. It did not age as well as some classic horror titles but it still deserves a watch. Check it out on 4K now.
Making of Daybreakers” Multi-Part Documentary
The Big Picture (Spierig Brothers Short Film)
Audio Commentary with Co-Directors Peter and Michael Spierig and Creature Designer Steven Boyle