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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: DayBreakers: Fangs, Blood, Gore and more.

Daybreakers: Willem Dafoe, blood and gore!

Okay, okay. So I know I had planned (since Dec) to do a review of New Moon. And believe me, it’s coming (or should I say “transitioning”) but some films motivate to review them post-haste, some don’t.

What can I say?

“Life’s a Bitch… then you don’t die”, that’s what I could say, but I’d leave the witty one-liners to the thrill ride that was Daybreakers.

I would admit I didn’t know what to expect from Daybreakers.

I saw the trailer. Saw that it was a vampire movie (1st check mark towards my wanting to see it). Saw that Willem Dafoe was in it (2nd check mark, as I always enjoy his performances) and there was Ethan Hawke too (3rd check, as generally I like Ethan’s certain projected sense of vulnerability and was curious to see him as a vampire).

So it was just with a sense of those 3 things, and nothing more, that drew me to the film. 

Well who knew, that about 98 minutes later, I’d be recommending it to other horror fans and potentially wanting to see it again.

“It’s about as safe as bare backing a $5.00 whore!” 

No finer (and funnier) words could have been spoken, as were those said by Willem Dafoe in character as Elvis, the former vampire re- turned… human?

And as part of the viewing audience, safe we were not. Well at least not quite.
From the unexpected surprises that you didn’t see coming: The operation room splatter scene. To moments wrought with a touch of melancholy: Edward’s brothers’ compassion upon viewing the fiery death of one whom he turned. To the downright campy: the slow-mo, full out feast fest at the end, which solicited out right laughter from the audience at its’ sheer campiness.

I would admit I did find some parts of the plot a bit weak.
For example: it could be begged to question, as to what was the point of having the escapees and the vampire Politian as seemingly important members, only to have them all captured (the entourage) and killed (the Politian et al). I also felt a sense of lacking as pertained to the relationship between Charles Bromley (Sam Neil) and his daughter Alison (Isabel Lucas).

Nevertheless, I personally found that Ethan Hawke gave a convincing performance as the “I-didn’t-want-to-be-one” human turned vampire. The sense of abject displacement and disconnect which he projected, contrasted acutely with the others around him who gloried in being vampires and all things vampiric. For all intents and purposes, he was determined to keep what was left of his humanity and managed to maintain it. This was in contrast to his brother Frankie Dalton (Michael Dorman), who was “never any good at being human.”

Yet, it was nice to see, that, by the final chapter, this (maintaining a sense of humanity) was finally understood by Frankie and one couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment and loss, at his sacrifice.

In all, I found Daybreakers to be an enjoyably fang-tastic thrill ride – emphasis on “fang” because unlike the vamps in the Twilight Saga franchise who are “fang-less” (and there by do we consider them “impotent”?), the vampires in Daybreakers are all fangy, all the time – With enough of a balance of suspense, and dark humour (mostly delivered by Dafoe) to warrant a watch or in my case, a re-watch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know, that's how I felt about Daybreakers -- I didn't really know what to expect and I was surprised by what I got. It seemed like it might be more of an action flick but had surprisingly deep moments.

I wished they had gone into the vampire lore a bit more (I understand it's related to bats, as my friend's husband who saw it with us pointed out -- in a subway station, they featured a Discovery Channel advertisement "See the Bat that started it all!".

I think the politicians were killed to show that Willem and co. were alone, hence they had to go back to Ethan's co-worker.

The relationship between Sam Neill and his daughter -- she was a bit one-sided, and him maybe as well, but his could be put down to the fact that he was a vamp (I thought).

Great review Soni! Looking forward to Thursday!