Thursday, June 17, 2010

1. Daybreakers - 2009 (Aus)

So. The world has been taken over by vampires, and humans were given the choice between turning or running and trying to escape being hunted and farmed for blood by the ever-strong vampire race. The vampires won, and here's what happened.

What was good:
It's not a post-apocalyptic survival movie like the blurb would suggest. The focus is very much on the vampires' survival - as humans are becoming extinct so is the availability of blood. Despite this though you find yourself rooting for the humans, even though there is some indication that a minority of vampires are against human farming. Enter Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) a haemotologist working on a blood substitute (and secretly a cure to turn vampires back into humans.)
This was an interesting concept as the vampires turn into a more Ann Rice "Dracula's minions" type of vampire in the absence of human blood - ears elongate, they grow long fingers with menacing claws, and scary skin wings grow between their arms and bodies. They're pretty gross, and considered the bottom feeders of society. Naturally, the famine hits the lower classes first, and a supernatural type of riot ensues in the cities as more and more upstanding vampire citizens are left without blood.
Vampires have societal classes - Whodathunkit?

What else?
The mix of Australian and US actors is refreshing - I'm usually the first to pick out amateurish acting by Aussies, but accents and performances are all pulled off. Writers/directors The Spierig Brothers are originally German, but are now Brisbane boys. 2003 saw their debut film Undead (Which I am yet to see.) Evidently they have a thing for the supernatural.
Production value is also fairly impressive for the budget. It wasn't low by Australian standards, but being a vampire tale there's lots of fire and explosions - everytime they're exposed to sunlight/UV rays, wooden stakes, or (a newie to me) glass stakes, they explode and burst into flames. 'Twas not bad I thought, but having said that, if you're expecting Hollywood style, yipee-kaye-mother-fucker type explosions, think again.
What else? It's also quite violent in parts (there is a beheading!) But it's the classy type of violence that stays away from the whole blood-spraying-across-the-screen type of gore.

What's not so good:
A blunder in the first few scenes - correct me if I'm wrong readers, but do we see Ethan Hawke staring at his reflection in this car's rear-view mirror merely moments after a mirror showed no reflection for another vampire? This made me convinced Ethan Hawke's character (as the human sympathiser) was only pretending to be a vampire for the first half of the movie, up until *spoiler alert* ... Nah, I won't do that to you, but you get what I mean.

All-in-all for a part Aussie, part US movie I give it 3.75 stars. A vampire movie is a classic, and this hit the mark with a small twist. Kinda like experimenting with half-and-half on a pizza. There's good and bad when messing with a classic, but in the end, who hates pizza?

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