This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

15Jan/10

DAYBREAKERS

Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe fight for humanity in DAYBREAKERS

Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe fight for humanity in DAYBREAKERS

DAYBREAKERS (the Spierig Brothers, 2010)
Opens Friday, January 8
www.daybreakersmovie.com

Australian brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, who played with the zombie genre in their feature-length debut, 2003’s UNDEAD, dig their teeth into vampires in their follow-up, DAYBREAKERS. It’s 2019, and the world has been turned upside down — one infected bat has led to ninety-five percent of the population being vampires, living in a nocturnal society that shuts down during the day. At night, the vamps put on their suits, board the subways, and go to work, getting their blood at coffee shops and acting fairly normal. But with the dwindling supply of human blood — as humanity itself is on the brink of extinction — some vampires are turning into evil, bloodthirsty winged creatures ready to tear apart anything, including themselves, for a shot of the red stuff.

At Bromley Marks Pharmaceuticals, hematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is desperately researching a blood substitute that can save civilization even as he disagrees with many of the policies of his smarmy boss, powerful CEO Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), who is harvesting humans for their blood, sucking them dry. But when Dalton meets human Audrey Bennett (Claudia Karvan) and Elvis Cormac (Willem Dafoe), a former auto mechanic who claims that he was a vampire but is now human again, having accidentally discovered what might be a cure, the lines are drawn and a new battle is on, one that might not be quite what it was originally about. Filled with sly twists on the vampire genre, including exploding bodies and specially equipped daytime cars, DAYBREAKERS is a bloody good thriller that also manages to comment on politics, business, and immigration without becoming didactic and melodramatic. The Spierig brothers set just the right look and mood from the very beginning to the gory conclusion.

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