Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Defoe, Claudia Karvan
Watch Daybreakers online in the UK: iTunes / Amazon Instant Video / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
In the not-too-distant future, vampirism is a disease, which has infected 95% of the human race. In 10 years, the whole planet has adapted to the vampiric life. Society now tends towards nocturnal activity, though modifications like light-proof plus-15s connecting buildings and heavily-filtered cars enable day-time activities.
This weird, dysfunctional system shuffles along, hunting and harvesting the remaining humans for blood. But when Charles Bromley (Neill), head of the evil Bromley Marks corporate blood farm, announces to his board that there is only enough red stuff to last till the end of the month, the desperate search for a substitute continues in earnest, lest the entire population turn into hideous blood-starved bat-creatures, which they call “subsiders”.
Guilty veggie vamp Edward Dalton (Hawke) is a smarty-pants haematologist working for said Evil Corporation; he’s on the cutting edge of blood-substitute research, despite the fact that whole concept of vampirism disgusts him. The appearance of a band of humans, including Audrey (Kavan) and ex-vampire Lionel, AKA Elvis (Defoe), gives him another option: a cure. Of course, while the blood shortages cripple the third world and make monsters of the rest, businessman Bromley isn’t a fan. “Immortality is the miracle,” he snarls.
This is a new take on old-fashioned vampires – reminiscent of Blade – at times seeing them deteriorate to the level of zombies in their bloodlust. On the surface, their world is bright and shiny, evocative of Bladerunner, with its seething underground of hideously deformed beasts. The vamps themselves are the kind with distinct aversions to sunlight and wooden stakes – not those rubbishy, romantic, pretty-boy, sparkly types. With Willem Dafoe almost stealing the whole film, Daybreakers is enjoyable, bloody, gory fun.