Friday, July 09, 2010

Daybreakers (2010) directed by the Spierig brothers

Vampire movies certainly are not what they used to be. This one certainly follows that trend. Leading the way is the golden eyed vampire, Edward, who is in a minority of vampires who do not like drinking human blood and even comes to care greatly for a human girl with long dark, hair. Wait . . . that sounds familiar, doesn't it? No, it's not the Twilight saga, that popular teen romance with vampires. No sparkly vampires, well kind of, because this Edward does put on a good light show in the movie.

This movie is chock full of original ideas. Right from the beginning, you know you are in for something different. You get flashes of a world where vampires dominate, with some tongue-in-cheek humor: There are signs advertising school hours from 8 pm to 2 am, posters of Uncle Sam calling for human blood, subways have become the safest way to travel in the daytime, Chrysler cars with specially tinted windows are the way to travel for individuals going outside of the subway, and vampires stop at coffee shops on their way to work for a coffee with a shot of blood (containing 20% blood due to blood shortages). It is an interesting mix of horror and sci-fi (and no romance, thank goodness. The characters care for each other, but it does not go beyond that during the scope of this movie).

Set into the not too distant future, vampirism is a disease that has spread and infected most of the human race. Amusingly enough, the vampires have adapted their former human lives to their changed circumstances: They still get coffee sold by vampires and go to work through rush hour, order is reinforced by vampire police, there are vampire CEOs and politicians. Add to an already unusual and fresh take on the vampire story is exploring what happens when there are more vampires than humans. A few humans remain, but too few are left to sustain the vampires, so you see a sci-fi angle with vampire scientists racing to find a solution to the blood shortage, and human greed becomes just as or more ugly (and quite gory, in some cases) in vampires.

Call this movie a hit or a miss, it certainly is original and full of interesting ideas. Ethan Hawke is this movie's golden-eyed Edward. William Dafoe plays one of the ringleaders of the small human resistance, nicknamed Elvis with tongue-in-cheek appropriateness. Look for Daybreakers in the VBPL Catalog. If you enjoy sci-fi twists (and maybe a little more Ethan Hawke), try Gattaca, a movie about a futuristic society no longer judging by race or gender but by genetics. For more twists with a horror theme, have a look at Jennifer's Body, a bit of parody on the horror genre mixed with high school drama when the school's hot cheerleader becomes possessed by a demon.

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