January 4, 2010
NOT FOR MIDDLE-SCHOOLERS
Stunningly black-and-white with splashes of red, this very gory, futuristic vampire saga is an arresting mix of style and substance. High-school-age fans of the genre, especially those with an appreciation of horror films made with artistic pretensions, will like Daybreakers. It is not, however, for middle-schoolers or the weak of stomach. Co-created by Australia-based sibs Michael and Peter Spierig, the film lacks humor, but has strong dramatic content.
A pandemic has turned most humans into vampires. Ordinary, mortal humans have become an endangered species, hunted and rounded up. Ethan Hawke plays Edward, a vampire and hematologist, who works for a large vampire blood supply company whose chief executive (Sam Neill) "farms" humans for blood, holding them in suspended animation, naked (semigraphic). But supplies are dwindling and some vampires are mutating into crazed, batlike creatures. Edward is trying to invent a "blood substitute" that will solve things for vampires and humans alike. He falls in with a band of human survivors (Willem Dafoe as a vampire turned human again).
Battles between humans, mutated vampires and vampire military are graphic -- beheadings, explosions of blood, entrails and heads, shootings, impalings. There is strong profanity.