Taking a cue from zombie cinema, Daybreakers takes the idea of vampire-as-virus to an apocalyptic crescendo. The world is populated almost exclusively by vampires now. Human beings are farmed for blood but they are in such limited supplies. You see there is an extreme blood shortage because the vampires have lived beyond their means. That’s right, it’s a consumer consumption/environmental metaphor. The limited resources are dire because if vampires go without human blood they begin to devolve into senseless, winged mutating monsters known as “subsiders.” The poor cannot afford the skyrocketing blood prices so they are most fated to doom, while the rich argue that the blood supplies need to go to families first and not be wasted on the lesser dregs. The U.S. vampiric military, when not hunting humans, shackles the subsiders and marches them into the sunlight to be executed. Daybreakers has a lot more on its mind than most vampire movies, and it’s plainly fascinating to explore the realities of a world run by vampires (cars that drive during the day, the Subwalk, blood in your coffee). For most of its running length, Daybreakers is an intriguing setup that makes room for cool visceral action and social commentary. Then in the final act it sort of devolves itself into one big, dumb action movie. Ethan Hawke is a blood scientist trying to work on a synthetic substitute for a super vampire corporation that, of course, is evil. He stumbles upon an outlandish “cure” for vampirism and wants to resurrect humanity. This leads to a climax where Hawke and his human warriors wage battle inside the corporate HQ. For a promising concept, it’s depressing that Daybreakers had to end in such a typical manner. At least the vampires explode in the sun instead of sparkling.
Nate’s Grade: B-