10 years into a mysterious plague that turns human beings into vampires, there aren’t enough uninfected people left to supply fresh blood. Those who are left are rounded up and plugged into corporate blood farms while scientists work to find a synthetic substitute.

Ethan Hawke plays one of the scientists, himself only a reluctant vampire, Sam Neill plays his creepy corporate boss and Willem Dafoe plays the leader of a band of human resistors who may be the key to a cure for vampirism.

Australian brothers Michael and Peter Spierig deserve some credit for bringing a few interesting new ideas to an increasingly played out genre – the set up is good and there’s a promising angle with vampires deteriorating and turning wild when they go too long without real human blood – but the delivery is so flatfooted that the film ends up wasting a talented cast. Not even the ever-entertaining Dafoe is able jumpstart the dreary proceedings.

Suspense is kept to a minimum, scares are almost non-existent and the whole thing is a curiously leaden time filler. Had the brothers spent less time trying to shake up the genre and more time delivering genre thrills, they might’ve ended up with something worth seeing. As it is, it’s stylishly mounted but ultimately empty.

5 Responses to “Mini-review: Daybreakers (2010) **”

  1. Once again I come upon a Crag Kennedy review of a film that I saw hours before seeing the review! What timing! I tood my son Danny to see thsi dog this afternoon at our local multiplex, and even two stars is too much, but that’s probably what I will give it as well. It is (as Mr. Kennedy rightly asserts) “as empty as they come” and again the blood-letting and action sequences were leaden and stereotypical. A complete waste of valuable time.

    Luckily for me I saw a decent documentary tonight, titled GARBAGE DREAMS. (3 1/2 of 5)

  2. I missed this yesterday because I couldn’t find parking at the crowded multiplex, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

  3. The style and some of the ideas are worth a couple of stars, but jeez this thing was dull.

    Joel, unless there’s something about it that really intrigues you… like you just have to see everything Willem Dafoe has ever done… you were lucky not to have wasted your time and money. It wasn’t offensively horrible or anything, just a snoozer.

  4. Pity about that altercation you had at the parking lot attendant, Joel. Still you were frustrated and the guy thought he was an authority figure what with his uniform and clip-on tie.

  5. Never trust a man in a clip-on tie.

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