‘Til the Break of Dawn: Daybreakers‘s Vampires Bring the Ruckus.


I saw the new vampire flick, Daybreakers, last night, and, yo: It is a trip.

Opening tomorrow, January 8, Daybreakers, which stars Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Neill, takes place in 2019.

A mysterious plague has swept over the earth, transforming the majority of the world’s population into vampires. Humans are now an endangered, second-class species – forced into hiding as they are hunted and farmed for vampire consumption to the brink of extinction.

daybreakers_img7_h-lowHawke plays Edward Dalton, right, a vampire hematologist whose job it is to find a blood substitute, in order to replace the starving populace’s rapidly disappearing food supply. (That picture, top, is of a “subsider”: A vampire who, by feeding solely on vampire blood, as opposed to that of humans, has begun to degenerate into a mutant, non-viable form.)

Daybreakers has enough horror movie-style bug-out moments to make it worth your and your boy’s while. But what I loved about it was how thoroughly the film’s vampire society has been thought out, creating a world that’s just like ours—but turned inside out to reveal its rot.

02_72dpiIn the movie, people wait for the subway, right, on their way to work, just like everywhere, except everybody works at night. All the population, including the newscasters, have longer-and-sharper-than-average incisors; eerie, night-sensitive eyes; pale skin; and, hey, love drinking blood. (In fact, as the human stock diminishes, some of the flick’s drama even comes from the diminished amounts of hemo people are rationed to mix, like cream, into their coffee.) That sign, you partially see in the background, is war-effort type graphic urging vampires to “Capture Humans.”

In their gated communities, a soothing voice alarm announces the remaining time before the incumbent sunrise. When night is over, underground and between-building passageways enable the bloodsuckers to get from site to site without exposing themselves to lethal daylight. Indeed, many of these nightcrawlers drive daylight-equipped vehicles, like Dalton’s chic Chrysler 300, featuring utterly opaque windows and a four-axis, rooftop camera beaming in an external view via monitors. Wild.

captain-blood-remake-2Obviously, directors Michael and Peter Spierig, right, who work as a unit under the title the Spierig Brothers, are responsible for the film’s sophisticated look and feel. Some of the credit for its level of detail, though, and the way the movie conveys the moodiness of a vampirized society must go to production designer/costume designer George Liddle (Dark City). According to Liddle

he and the directors consciously avoided anything resembling the gothic style of typical vampire stories. “We wanted a world that was recognizable to our own, with some futuristic accents,” he says. “We spent a lot of time looking at books and photographs together for reference points. Our vampire world is very cold, with greys and black and white, and the costumes reflect that.  We made the sets quite modern and hard-edged, using blocks of grey and black fitted with fluorescent strip lights. And then the human world – the sanctuary – has a lot more warmth and tone.”

Any way, you must see this flick. Twilight it is not.

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