‘Daybreakers’ gets the blood flowing (everywhere…)

Dominic Baez – Editor-in-chief

Move over, Edward Cullen.

Some real vampires are in town, and they would tear your “Twilight” world asunder.

“Daybreakers,” written and directed by the Spierig brothers, delves into a little-thought about reality: In this world, vampires are the majority; humans are hunted to quench their hunger, per normal, but because of the overwhelming vampire population, the human race has dwindled down to a mere 5 percent.

It’s 2019, 10 years after a mysterious virus transformed humans into vampires. (No one ever explains what caused this transformation.) Despite being immortal, the vampires are caught in a catch-22: Without human blood, they mutate into bat-winged creatures that lose all frontal lobe functions; however, they’re running out of food because they want to avoid this fate. It’s not a pretty sight.

Enter Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a human hematologist who, similar to “Twilight’s” vampires, refuses to drink human blood and cherishes human life. After miserably failing to find a blood substitute early on (violent, “Exorcist”-style vomiting proves the point), Dalton runs into a band of human refugees whose leader, Elvis (William Defoe), claims to have found a cure to this pulse-stopping mutation.

Unlike other movies that jumped on the vampire bandwagon, “Daybreakers” revels in ancient vampire lore: The sun burned you to a smoking pile of ashes (instead of making you shimmer like a diamond), stakes through the heart result in fiery explosions (instead of doing absolutely nothing at all) and bloody, gory acts of vampirism run rampant (unlike other sans blood movies). The scenery reflects a post-apocalyptic nightmare, resulting in a dark, shady emotion hovering over you. No life walks in the daylight. The night rules this world.

The script leaves something to be desired, especially with the cheap one-liners (“Life’s a b—-, and then you don’t die”), but the novelty of the idea is refreshing enough to compensate. Hawke’s performance was lackluster, but it fits the scenario: It’s hard to be perky when you’re hungry.

Although it’s not Oscar-worthy, it’s a breath of fresh air in a less-than-pulse-racing sub-genre. Maybe now there won’t be so many “Twilight” wannabes. If it came down to a fight, you should put $20 on “Daybreakers.”

Rated: R (strong, bloody violence; language; and brief nudity)
Running time: 1 hours, 38 minutes
Photo courtesy: Lionsgate Films

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