Friday, January 8, 2010

Entertaining "Daybreakers" just what doctor ordered



Daybreakers (2010) 
97 min., rated R.
Grade: B 

Now this is what the doctor ordered: "Daybreakers," a vampire movie in the "Blade" style with no sullen teens infatuated with smoldering bloodsuckers who have bad hair days (sorry "Twilight"). With much more production help than their campy 2005 feature debut "Undead," the Spierig Brothers (Michael and Peter) have stuck to their high-concept filmmaking approach with a novel, amusing sci-fi horror premise and slicked up their visual style with a cool, blueish palette. 

In "Daybreakers," the vampire mythos stays true: the little suckers have no reflection and bite the dust when their Vitamin-D-deficient asses come near a little sunshine. It's 2019 (you can ignore the Mayan calendar's prediction of an apocalyptic 2012) and everyone's now a vampire, but there is a high demand and shortage in human blood. Nearing extinction, the vampires must capture and farm all the remaining humans, or find blood before they check out. Without the blood, they will turn into home-invading “subsiders,” basically a bloodthirsty cross between an ugly rat and ugly Gollum. 

Ethan Hawke is Edward (no, not Cullen), a sympathetic blood doctor who isn't too happy about being a vampire and can't drink human blood on the rocks (“Life's a bitch and then you don't die”), but has to help a band of human survivors to find a cure. Mr. Bromley (Sam Neill, who looks perfectly evil with green-yellowish eyes and enlarged incisors) plays the Bad Guy in a businessman suit who gets his comeuppance. Nicely playing off his "Shadow of a Vampire" role, Willem Dafoe's Elvis character has a cure to reverse the human-to-vampire process. 

This entertaining film ends a little too neatly, save for all the messy blood-spurting and decapitations, but it has effectively jumpy gasps and giggles in spades. 

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