"I'm good at this. I was never any good at being human."
As much as I love vampires, even I have to admit that the market is over saturated with vampire movies with Twilight leading the pack. Before you ask, I am not a fan of the series, and no, I don’t hate you if you are. Vampire movies in recent years have fallen into two categories in American cinema. Either they are the sexy, irresistible demons or they are the reprehensible monsters hell-bent on destroying their food source. Sometimes, you’ll get some amalgam of the two. Daybreakers offered something a little different in their take on vampire lore.
The movie opens with a young girl sitting in a yard as the sun comes up. Flashes of a suicide note written in childish handwriting wraps around the scene as we realize the girl is a vampire. Unable to come to terms with the fact that she’ll be young forever, she forfeits her life. The scene switches and we meet our main player.
Much of the human population has been turned into vampires. Less than 5% remains. Those humans that aren’t in hiding are kept in a bank where their blood is harvested. However, the stores are almost completely depleted, and hematologist, Dr. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), is working desperately with a team to make a blood substitute.
Dalton is able to recreate the variables needed in creating the cure and cures his own vampirism. Thinking that a cure is preferable to a substitute, Dalton is eager to present his findings. However, administering the cure becomes a bit more complicated as company politics and greed comes into play. You knew it wouldn’t be that easy.
I liked that the movie presented this “what if” scenario with vampires, attempting to show the complications of a world filled with too many vampires and too few humans. The vampires here aren’t portrayed as particularly sexy or evil.
They’re actually still very human in their actions and interactions. They maintain jobs and families. They still follow human social cues and have complicated relationships with those closest to them. Privilege is still delegated to the “haves” rather than the “have-nots.”
It was interesting to see how the vampires had modified things to accommodate their population. They do most of their working at night. Even their cars have a “night mode” with cameras to help them navigate if they drive during the day. The brief montages of the city in the daytime showed a lifeless world where not even humans roamed. Even the military has been relegated to being nothing more than human hunters.
Yes, there were parts of the movie that were just silly and probably sounded better in theory than in practice. I felt there could’ve been more story development about how this happened, and the ending was a little bit of a letdown. However, I enjoyed it for what it was worth and appreciated the different approach to vampires.