Of all the vampire movies in recent years, Daybreakers has one of the most original and interesting premises. 2019. The tables have turned and vampires are now in the majority. Humans are hunted down and farmed for blood. [Sorry, I couldn’t think of a way to explain the premise without giving those parts away]
Anyway, it’s a great idea, and everything about Daybreakers points towards a classic. From the dark, cold colour scheme to some of the coolest futuristic inventions (for the vampire folk), old school action and car chases, sickening blood and gore, frightening creatures and Willem Dafoe, Daybreakers should have been a classic.
But it’s not.
And no, it’s not Ethan Hawke’s fault! I like Hawke and I think he’s a suitable lead for this film. He’s got that brooding, intellectual demeanor with an ample dose of wimpiness – but with hero potential, of course. So no, it’s not Hawke. He’s fine.
So is female lead Claudia Karvan and her Aussie/Kiwi co-stars Sam Neill, Vince Colosimo and Isabel Lucas.
So perhaps the problem lies with the fact that Daybreakers is not very memorable. None of the characters are particularly interesting or stand out. Willem Dafoe is supposed to be that guy, but he doesn’t quite get there. There’s no dialogue that audiences are likely to remember or recite. And apart from an early encounter, there’s not a lot of scares, and while there is nothing wrong with the action, it is actually rather pedestrian in comparison to the top notch action thrillers.
Having said all that, I did like the film. It was one of those “it’s pretty good, but could have been so much more” type movies. It kept me interested and intrigued, with a couple of twists thrown in for good measure. At just 98 minutes, it made me wish for once the film was at least 20 minutes longer. Maybe it’s the relatively low budget (by today’s standards) of only $20 million and a restricted vision that held it back from being great.
3.5 stars out of 5!