Horror Movie Review: Daybreakers (2009)


“Life’s a bitch and then you don’t die.”

A view of the world during daylight shows the world to be empty. During night, the desolate city is shown to be alive and booming. This is the world of the vampires.

ssThe year is 2019. It’s been 10 years since the outbreak of a plague that has turned almost every human being into a vampire.
We begin the film with a shot of a newspaper headline telling us that a German blood substitute has failed. On a television two vampires are debating the current situation which has enveloped their society: a shortage of blood.

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In 2019, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is the head hematologist for the pharmaceutical company Bromley Marks, the largest supplier of human blood in the United States. Along with fellow hematologist Christopher Caruso (Vince Colosimo), Dalton is in the process of developing a substitute to bolster dwindling blood supplies and to create a substance that can replace blood and be generated. The need is underscored after Dalton’s boss, company owner Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), reveals that the estimated human population is down to 5%, and national blood supplies will not last more than a month. When deprived of blood for extended periods, vampires degenerate into “subsiders,” psychotic bat-like creatures which lose their memories and independent thought and left with the basic need for blood. Faced with this knowledge, Edward and Chris carry out a hasty clinical trial of the latest revision on a volunteering soldier, which is a spectacularly gruesome failure when the soldier explodes from a painful side-effect.
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On the drive home, Dalton becomes momentarily distracted by lighting a cigarette and seeing his ears becoming longer (first sign of becoming a subsider) and accidentally runs another vehicle off the road. When he checks on the occupants of the other vehicle, he is shot in the arm by a crossbow shot, and quickly discovers they are humans. With police approaching, Dalton convinces the humans to hide in his vehicle and activates the UV protector which tints the glass to hide them, and then tells police that the occupants of the other vehicle fled. The humans then leave, but not before their leader, Audrey (Claudia Karvan), learns Edward’s name and occupation from the ID badge on his jacket.
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At home, Edward is surprised by his estranged brother Frankie (Michael Dorman), a soldier in the human-hunting Vampire Army who has returned for Edward’s birthday. Frankie’s gift of a bottle of pure human blood re-ignites a long-standing argument over Edward’s sympathies towards humans, his refusal to drink human blood (he drinks animal blood as a substitute), and his resentment towards Frankie for turning him into a vampire. The argument is cut short when a subsider invades Edward’s house, forcing the brothers to team up and kill it; it turns out that the subsider is actually a gardener who went missing weeks ago.
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The following morning, Audrey arrives at Edward’s home, giving him a note with instructions for a meet before departing. After some consideration, Dalton goes to the meeting location during the day in his UV protected Chrysler 300C and hides in the shades of a tree, and is introduced to Lionel “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe), another human, but an Army SUV arrives with Frankie, who followed Edward and intends to capture both Cormac and Audrey. Audrey knocks Frankie unconscious and the three make their escape, fleeing from approaching soldiers in Edward’s car (since Cormac’s orange 1965 Ford Mustang is destroyed with bullets).
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Once they escape, Cormac drives to the edge of a river, where he reveals that he was once a vampire and a professional mechanic, and one of the pioneers in creating a UV protection cover for windows and cameras, and lived close to Edward, but was cured when a car crash ejected him from his sun-proof vehicle into the river during daylight hours: Elvis burst into flame in daylight, but his life was saved when he landed in the river – having been exposed to the sun for the precise length of time required to turn him human again. Elvis asks Dalton to help find a way to recreate the cure safely; Dalton agrees.
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Could the cure really be so simple? Watch the rest to find out 😉

Daybreakers has an interesting concept, and I think the visual effects, make-up and city are great. And don’t get me wrong, a lot of the movie I did enjoy to an extent. But the major thing that drags it down for me is the severe lack of character development. I felt I couldn’t really care about the characters enough because I knew almost nothing about them, and many of them were either stereotypes (Elvis) or just blank slates (Audrey).

There were some moments in the film also, that were very confusing, for instance there are a few scenes in which people are injured but have no reaction. For example; Audrey notices Dalton hasn’t drank blood recently as his ears are getting pointed so she slices her hand open and squeezes some of her blood into a cup – she has no reaction to this, when the cut is deep enough for blood to be pouring out of her. Also, similarly it happens involving vampires. Starting with Frankie, he injures his shoulder and a few days later it’s still not healed. But, Dalton gets fully burnt from the sun, to the point where he’s engulfed in flames and then afterwards there’s no marks or signs of burns and he’s completely fine.
It’s noticeable errors such as these that made it hard to enjoy the film, when if the makers of the film don’t seem to care about these mistakes then why should I even care about the film entirely?

Lastly, the ending of the movie was abrupt with no defined conclusion, it’s as if they just banked on having a sequel – which has yet to ever happen or be announced.

Daybreakers
  • 6/10
    The Final Score - 6/10
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