Sunday, June 3, 2012

3 short paragraphs: Daybreakers

2009, the Spierig Brothers

Unfortunately, this isn't a feature length picture of Troy and Abed enjoying Michael Haggins' smooth-jazz classic(#sixseasonsandamovie)

Instead, Daybreakers is a cleverly conceived yet poorly executed future sc i-fi vampire action/drama.  Set in 2019 (10 years in the future, three years ago), vampires are the dominant species after a viral outbreak.  With humanity on the verge of extinction, so too is the vampire's "food" supply.  Ethan Hawke plays a scientist looking for a synthetic blood substitute, only to get entangled with the human resistance and learn that there is, in fact, a procedure for curing people of their vampirism.   Of course, it's not as simple as it sounds as Hawke must contend against the might of the corporation that controls the blood supplies and his own brother, who's charged with corralling any remaining humans.

There's great ideas in the film, including the societal breakdown as the blood supplies start running low as well as the mutation of the virus when the vampires begin to starve, and yet it's all so clunkily executed, on the level of a low-budget, syndicated genre TV show.  The German Spierig Brothers, acting as both writers and directors, don't seem to know what they want out of their own film, as early on they seem to strive for a Gatta-like seriousness, yet constantly undermining it with cheesy dialogue or overly transparent foreshadowing.  By the third act of the film the Brothers abandon any sense of drama in favour of an exceptionally awkward and poorly constructed action finale/bloodbath which is either painful or funny, depending on how high or drunk you are.  I don't think that either reaction is what the brothers were after.

I seem to recall discussion that writer David Goyer had originally planned a similar plot for the third Blade movie, a world in which the vampires won, human were cattle, and Blade was to lead the resistance.  Somehow, between Blade 2 and getting the directorial gig for Blade Trinity the concept changed completely and became a Blade and the Scooby Gang vs. Dracula instead.  I was hoping Daybreakers would capitalize upon Blade's loss and that this great idea would finally be executed on screen.  Alas.  Exceptionally skippable.