Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

Between the teen girl-swoonathon that is the Twilight saga and the swamp-lust of TV's True Blood, you're hard pushed nowadays to find a screen without any vampires on it. Going by the 'if you can't beat them, join them' line of thinking, The Spierig brothers have directed a fangs flick of their own. But with a unique spin...

It’s the year 2019 and vampires have overthrown the human race, with only five per cent remaining. However, with blood supplies running low, chief haematologist and reluctant vampire Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) has been tasked with creating a substitute. While searching, he meets some human resistance fighters (Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan) who know of something better - a cure for vampirism.

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Undoubtedly, the idea at the unbeating-heart of the oddly-named Daybreakers is an interesting one. Flipping the usual vampires-as-deadly-minority angle on its head, the premise is intriguing and the movie works best when dealing with the 'what if?' concept of how a vampire society would actually work (the working 'day' beginning at nightfall, humans farmed out for blood). There are flecks of I Am Legend (humans as the minority, hiding out) and Children Of Men (the extinction of a species and the effect on society), but the central gambit remains more original than most genre efforts.

The problem being, the storyline isn't strong enough. The cure and its side-effects stretch credibility too far, there's sketchy logic surrounding the vampires themselves (okay, so they've got no reflection and drink blood... what else?) and the final third is too concerned with setting itself up for a sequel to properly satisfy.

Still, while it's tough to see non sci-fi fans taking to it, there's enough brains here to ensure it’s not another Van Helsing. The action is short-yet-sharp, and all the better for it, there's a few genuine scares and the casting is pretty-much spot on. After all, it’s tough to think of three actors that look more vampiric than Ethan Hawke, Willem Defoe and Sam Neill (as the bloodsuckers' boss).

Though not quite living up to promise, a fantastic central idea and some good execution means Daybreakers has enough bite. Just.

Reviewed on: 07 Feb 2010
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Vampires have overthrown the human race... but now blood stocks are running low.
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Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Writer: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill

Year: 2009

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia, US


Australia 2010

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