Movies: Daybreakers

After enjoying Predestination so much, I thought I'd give this one a try, even though horror films aren't usually my thing. It was a tad bloody for my taste, but pretty decent. And at least the vampires don't sparkle.

Daybreakers is set in 2019 (keep in mind it was made in 2009), in a time when a virus has turned the majority of the population into vampires . . . And the humans are dwindling as they (a) become vampires or (b) become a food source. Alas, there isn't enough blood to sustain the massive vampire population, so they are on rations and searching for a synthetic substitute. So far none have worked.

Ethan Hawke plays Edward (har!) a sympathetic vampire who refuses human blood. His job is as a hematologist for a company run by Charles Bromley (Sam Neill)—he's one of those on the front lines of trying to find a blood substitute. After all, the humans are almost extinct; a substitute would buy time for the humans to repopulate before the vampires began hunting them again. (Human blood just tastes better.)

Starving vampires are turning into "Subsiders" that become increasingly batlike and mindless. Desperate for blood, they'll attack their own kind or even try to drink from themselves.

The movie is an interesting blend of zombie apocalypse and vampire myth. After Edward helps a group of humans get safely away from vampire authorities, they come back to tell him they have a cure for vampirism. Then they take him to Willem Dafoe, which sounds like a mean trick, but it isn't really. In this movie Willem calls himself Elvis and likes classic cars. He also is a cured vampire. With Edward's help, they're able to recreate the vampire cure . . . And cure Edward in the process.

Of course, being human isn't such a great thing in this world. When Bromley catches Edward and his friends, Edward sells the cure as a way to re-establish the dwindling human population, thereby boosting the blood supply. (I guess they've eaten all the animals already? I didn't see any animals . . .) Edward gets Bromley to bite him with the idea that he wants to be a vampire again. Except what works in one direction . . .

Well, look at it this way: A vampire bites a human, and the human (if s/he doesn't die) becomes a vampire. But when the vampire becomes human again, then the process works in reverse: When a vampire bites a cured vampire, the vampire becomes human. Now, it isn't clear how Edward knew this. It's not like he had time to test it as a theory. So he was mostly going on faith, I guess.

But it works. Bromley becomes human again, only to be set upon by his own vampire soldiers who are starving for blood. As they drink from him . . . They begin turning human. Only to be set upon by other hungry vampires. So on and so forth. It's actually pretty clever, though it requires quite a number of sacrifices on the side of cured vampires in order for the "antivirus" to spread.

So I liked Predestination a lot more, but then again, that was based on a Heinlein story. This one the Spierigs wrote themselves. Kudos to them, then, for doing a solid job there. It's not perfect, but it's definitely not bad.

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