Director: Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
Writers: Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
Running time: 94 minutes
DVD and Blu-ray release date: May 31 2010
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Number of discs: 1
Price: From £9.99
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan
The vampire genre has been considerably well-worn in the last year, yet new vamp flick Daybreakers manages to adopt a fresh angle with vampires who have taken over the world facing extinction themselves as human blood supplies diminish.
The opening scene of a little girl vampire committing suicide by sitting outside at sunrise sets the tone for the whole film as the vampire genre is almost turned up on its head. A world where vampires rule is convincingly created through attention to detail: a homeless man walks with a sign around his neck reading “Starving: blood needed”, cafe signs say “Still serving 20% blood”, news bulletins announce “Blood shortages cripple the Third World”, propaganda posters order pedestrians to “Join us now! Vampire army. Capture humans”, adverts show a new “Sub-walk” to connect areas of the city for vampires in daylight hours and all cars have a day driving black-out mode.
After humans have reportedly refused the chance to assimilate, they have become an endangered species with the remaining five percent of the population labelled as enemies of the state. Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, Chief Hematologist at a company trying to develop a human blood substitute, who also have a large storage room where humans are suspended naked and farmed for their blood.
Edward is a reluctant vampire who refuses to drink human blood after being unwittingly turned by his brother, a member of the vampire army who couldn’t face seeing his brother die. Edward’s boss, Sam Neill, fought cancer before the outbreak 10 years before so welcomed his new vampire life, unlike his teenage daughter who went renegade. His character represents the dilemma many faced when humans realised if they did not turn, they would die and the appeal of vampire immortality.
As blood supplies diminish, prices soar, riots abound, more and more vampires are becoming Class 4 Blood Deprived beasts from drinking their own blood and vampire army brutality rules. When Edward has a car crash, he meets a group of humans who change his existence and offer hope for the future of the world. One of the humans, Audrey Bennet (Claudia Karvan) tells Edward that blood substitution is not the answer. Intrigued, Edward goes to meet Lionel Cormac (Willem Dafoe) and so his life as a fugitive begins.
Full of corny but satisfying lines like “Being human in a world of vampires is about as safe as bare-backing a five dollar whore” and “Life’s a bitch and then you don’t die”, Daybreakers is packed with ingenious details, likeable characters, a satisfying plot twist and an uplifting blood bath ending.
Audio commentary with the directors, Michael and Peter Spierig, and special effects creator Steve Boyle
Making-of Daybreakers featurette (DVD only)
Feature-length version of the Making-of Daybreakers (Blu-ray exclusive)
“The Big Picture” short film (Blu-ray exclusive)
Bonus view storyboard and animatics film comparison (Blu-ray exclusive)
Poster gallery (Blu-ray exclusive)
Digital copy (Blu-ray exclusive)