What is it with vampires these days?
Daybreakers is the logical conclusion of our current pop obsession (popsession?) with vampires. Told from their viewpoint, they are the mainstream, the norm, the mundane. They are the bureaucratic drones and the police force. In other words, they are The Man.
The year is 2019, and it's been ten years since
Into this dystopian setting we thrust the usual bureaucratic minion, Edward
So there you have it! Is it worth the price of admission or the price of a DVD? Not really. It's a popcorn-churning, bloodgushing B-movie that delights in itself with some self-aware levity (did we mention vampires explode when a stake goes through their hearts? THEY EXPLODE.), though it never manages to break into truly eye-opening weirdness or truly coherent satire. What oppressed class are the humans supposed to be? We thought they were tuna or salmon for much of the film.
Ethan Hawke is a boring hero; imagine Keanu Reeves on a lot of Valium. Our beloved Sam Neill is his usual glorious self, though he does get involved in a very questionable sequence involving his human renegade daughter (Isabel Lucas), Policeman Frankie and a sort of Medieval "I sell you my daughter's virginity" prison rape. Was this eroticized vampirism and dodgy morals supposed to stick it to the Twilight people? Maybe.
Actually, the whole movie feels like an un-Twilight: a reaction to and play against the tired old vampire tropes that seem so pervasive in our fantasy genre these days. While it doesn't take itself as seriously as Twilight, and therefore is slightly less ridiculous, it still takes itself way too seriously: it is, after all, about a brooding vampire anti-hero stuck in the grind of a desaturated life. A little more sparkly color and slapstick might have been a better choice (or a little more feminism/postcolonialism; just sayin'). Overall, it's a C+: not as crafty and clever as other, better B-horrors (Shaun of the Dead, the almighty Slither), but not horrible either.