Ethan Hawke's a vampire who doesn't suck
No longer just nocturnal, they now run the show — day and night. Between their immortality and designer clothes, there isn't a True Blood Louisiana redneck vampire to be found.
Can't drive during the day? Fit cars with blackout windows and drive by video screen. Need blood? It's farmed in gigantic dairy-styled processing facilities where the few surviving humans are captured and then sucked dry.
But that blood supply is about to run out, a cause of concern for the blood baron ( Sam Neill). He has his best man, hematologist Edward Dalton ( Ethan Hawke), searching for a blood substitute. Something that will keep all the vampires from devolving into gnarly, uncivilized wraiths preying on one another and ease Edward's anti-blood sucking conscience.
Daybreakers is a stylish but unavoidably silly sci-fi vampire thriller shot in that Matrix/Gattaca futurescape of Australia. The German co-director Spierig brothers dazzle us with the inventiveness of this post-human world where Uncle Sam has fangs ("Capture Humans!" read the posters).
Then Edward stumbles into the human underground ( Willem Dafoe, with a crossbow, and Claudia Karvan), survivors holding out against extinction. Whatever the movie was, it becomes a too-conventional hunters-hunted/rebels tale.
The best scenes are between Hawke and Neill, who wears a mean pair of fangs and makes their moments together sort of a Job Interview With the Vampire. Neill almost makes the environmental parable at play here (greedy capitalist using up resources) work.
But those moments are lost once the standard issue explode-in-sunlight/stake-through-the-heart business revs up. Daybreakers reminds us that from Twilight to Underworld, True Blood to The Vampire Diaries, this is one genre where supply has utterly overwhelmed demand.
A dominant race plots its survival in 2019.
With Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill. Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig.
Running time: 98 minutes
Rated R: Violence, language, brief nudity