Monday, February 8, 2010

Daybreakers (2010)

DAYBREAKERS
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: PETER & MICHAEL SPIERIG
OVERALL SCORE: 5.00/10


As human's slowly approach extinction, and the reigning vampire's struggle to find a viable source of blood. Hematologist Dr. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is the leading researcher in finding a blood supplement, and has seen what happens to vampire's if they go too long without blood. After a chance encounter with a group of humans leads him to discover a cure for vampirism, he must decide where his loyalties lie.

I'll admit, despite not being a big fan of the Spierig brothers last outing, Undead (one I openly admit to turning off after 45mins), I found the concept of Daybreakers rather intriguing. A refreshing spin on the generic vampire tales. So, when it finally got its big release, I thought I would wait a bit and check it out. Besides, who am I to turn down a film with Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, and Willem Dafoe? Alas, most of what you've likely read about the flaws of this movie are achingly true.

When the movie isn't spitting gushes of blood at the camera (I swear they must have had a pool of it somewhere), it's muddling along in its own plot, trying to figure out where it wants to be. A rather Matrix-esque tale, much of Daybreakers isn't as smart as it likes to think it is, nor is it as entertaining as it should have been. While Hawke, Neill, and Dafoe are all entertaining the rest of the cast rank in between horrid and the extreme of mediocrity. Their lines are bland, acting unbalanced, and ultimately they weigh down the film's more emotional moments.

Not to mention there's just not enough there to begin with. The story keeps itself simple, and tries to keep the viewer on their heels, but there's just not enough underneath to do anything with. Much of the film's dramatic moments are held back by skittish acting and writing, while the action scenes are exercises in head ripping and blood splatting. Sure there's some entertaining moments, but I never bought into any of the situations enough to care. As a protagonist, Dalton's actions seem bland, self prophesying, and ultimately pointless. Elvis (Dafoe) is such a generic character, the redneck with a car fetish, I kept begging for them to just let Dafoe do what he does best. While Neill's corporate villain is so cardboard cut, and ill explained, you'd think he came out of a how to guide.

Still there's something to be said for the film's creativity and visual flair. What it lacks in writing, and characters, it, at times, makes up for with some intriguing action sequences, and dark cinematography. If nothing else the use of blue, grey, and black, creates a very intriguing style to the movie, one that I found very enjoyable to look at. If only they hadn't gone psycho orange for the daylight scenes, they may have had something visually outstanding.

Despite some creativity, and intriguing visuals, Daybreakers is weighed down far too heavily by spotty acting, a blood fetish, and a story not nearly as well developed as it should have been.

7 better thoughts:

DEZMOND said...

I pretty much expected reviews like this for DAYBREAKERS!No surprise, I guess.

Michele Emrath said...

No surprise here either. Though I'm sad for Sam Neill. He has great SciFi roots. Did you see Perfect Strangers? Or In the Mouth of Madness?

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Chase Kahn said...

I agree - I found it strange that the film received so much praise in some circles (and not just from genre fans).

It starts off fine, but by the end, it's just vampire hokum - bloody and meat-headed. The scene near the end, the slow-motion wide-angle shot of the soldiers all eating eachother's head off, that is ridiculous I'm sure we're supposed to laugh at it, right?

Also, why the hell does Ethan Hawke have a cutlery set in his kitchen? Explain...

Univarn said...

@Dezmond I just felt it was that mediocre.

@Michele I do need to see those. I do love watching Neill perform.

@Chase My only guess as to why, would be some subtle attempt by the director's to establish Hawke's character's longing for a more human life. Or perhaps they eat cake with blood icing? *shrug*.

Chase Kahn said...

Haha, that's true. It's like the fat person with a pair a skinny jeans hanging in their closet...

Sasha (The Final Girl Project) said...

I only half-read this review, because, as soon as I saw the name "Ethan Hawke", my brain shut down and is craving a screening of "Gattaca".

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Sorry to hear you didn't get much of it. I actually totally forgot about the blood/gore factor the second time I saw it. I found it a lot of fun and liked the visual style, as well as the 'corporate' take on vampires, that was pretty chic.

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