As most of you know, I was one of many people who were looking to Daybreakers as the cure for the common vampire. That is not the say that t...

Daybreakers: The Cure for the Common Vampire

As most of you know, I was one of many people who were looking to Daybreakers as the cure for the common vampire. That is not the say that the film did not succeed on this score and I think it does. Honestly, I enjoyed Daybreakers. In a market dominated by touchy-feely vampires, it was refreshing to see vampires depicted as honest-to-goodness bloodsuckers who devolve into monstrous subsiders when they don’t get enough juice.

That said, the only thing that might vex audiences is the fact that Daybreakers is really two movies in one. Daybreakers starts off as a moody, sci-fi noir thriller and the comparison of Daybreakers to films like Gattaca and The Island are spot on. Here is a world on the edge of extinction, vampirism is a virus that has spread the world over and the last vestiges of humanity are struggling to survive while evading capture by the undead elite. Enter Edward Dalton, a sympathetic, self-hating vampire scientist who joins with a band of human rebels to find the cure to vampirism.

The first half of the film succeeds in displaying the bleakness of immortality. The opening scene shows a girl-child committing suicide by sun, lamenting the fact that she will never grow up. In addition, Daybreakers showcases a loss of innocence as gangs of undead kids are seen smoking cigarettes and prowling the streets.

Daybreakers also comments on the monstrosity that lies beneath the calm veneer of vampiric respectability. While the vampires who symbolize the white ruling class strive to act civilized, they are anything but. They are monstrous consumers, as evidenced by a blood riot at a local coffee shop and their de-evolution into bat-like monsters without blood. As one vampire detective puts it while collecting the remains of a subsider who used to be Dalton’s gardener, “They’re in the suburbs now” The detective’s comment hints at the voracious monstrosity that lies just beneath the surface of peaceful suburban life.

But like vampires and their monstrosity, there is a second film that reveals itself in Daybreakers, one that had me rolling in the aisles. Daybreakers departs from the serious subject matter addressed in first half of the film in favor of over the top orgies of gore and I was reminded of films like From Dusk Till Dawn and Evil Dead. As a result, Daybreakers inevitably crosses the line from serious film into naïve camp. For example, the characters’ heroic actions are accompanied by an all-too-epic score and the result was laughs instead of awe from the audience. Still, even with a switch-hitter ending, Daybreakers is an enjoyable and welcome interpretation of the vampire in 21st century cinema.

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