“Daybreakers” – couldn’t really sink my teeth into it

Ethan Hawke in Daybreakers

Rated R

Directed and written by The Spierig Brothers

Starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Defoe, Sam Neill, Isabel Lucas, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman and Vince Colosimo

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 2/5

Word of Warning: Blood and guts all over the place!

In today’s climate vampires sell movies, and “Daybreakers” takes advantage of this trend, and although the premise is intriguing the story is not well executed.

The year is 2019, and a “virus” has plagued the planet for years, turning most of the human population into vampires. This transformation has come with a price. The vampires need human blood in order to survive, however they are quickly running out of human blood, because all the humans are becoming vampires.

Enter, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke). I’ve been a fan of Hawke since “Dead Poets Society“ circa 1989. I became an even bigger fan when “Reality Bites“ came out in 1994. Hawke, who usually plays a quite brooding sort, has acting chops, but his depiction of a conflicted vampire in “Daybreakers” left much to be desired. Not really his fault, I blame the writing.

As a side note, it seems vampires with a conscience are named Edward. A friend, and huge Twilight fan, thinks the old-fashion name will soon make a comeback due to the popularity among the onscreen vampire set. The name is currently the 148th most popular boys name.

Edward Dalton, who does not delight in eating human blood, is a hematologist working for a corporation researching a blood substitute. In addition to their research, the corporation, headed by Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), farm humans for their blood. And you think our current day corporations are bad.

The year 2019, is not a pretty place. The vampires work and play at night, so the movie is dark. There’s also a severe blood shortage, causing vampires to attack one another or feed off themselves, triggering a mutation. These hungry vampires turn into a large ugly bats.

The movie was made in Australia, and Weta Workshop, of “Lord of the Rings” fame, created the special effects. The effects are good and, at times, rather campy.

Through a predictable chain of events, the human resistance contacts Edward to help them. One of the humans, a guy named Elvis (Willem Defoe), thinks he’s discovered a cure to the vampire virus, but is a cure really what the world wants?

“Daybreakers” has some cool special effects, and the premise is promising. The writers have created an interesting world, and unlike some other vampire movies out there, they stuck to a more a more traditional vampire mythology. But at the end of the day this movie is completely forgettable, and I think it could have been a lot better.

If you are a huge vampire fan, this movie might be worth a matinee, otherwise, I encourage you to wait until it comes to television. I’m sure it won’t take long.


  1. The only redeeming fact about this movie is that it made me laugh every time the main character’s name (Edward) was spoken. Out of all of the names in the world…

    Terrible, terrible, terrible, movie.

    Willem Dafoe’s performance was embarrassing. Sam Neill doesn’t play a very convincing bad guy. If anything, Dafoe and Neill should have switched roles, not that it would have made the movie watchable.


  2. Has Ethan Hawke been in any good movie since WHITE FANG? 🙂 Still, I love the guy. Actually, SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS as pretty OK, just depressing as all get out.

    Since this movie has more traditional view of vampires, does that mean they don’t sparkle in the sunlight? 🙂 And smirk plentifully?


  3. Thanks for a quality review. I’ve not come across your reviews before but after reading this will have a regular look. (btw, found you when @potatofilm recommended you via #ff) I don’t know that we have same taste in films (don’t know that we don’t either) but can see you have a knack for writing a thoughtful review. I probably won’t watch “Daybreakers” (unless my not quite 17 year old Twilight fan daughter wants to drag me to it! ;)) Thanks again.


  4. Hi Sue, Thanks for checking out HeidiTown and for the compliments! And thanks to Jason for the #FF! He wrote the “2012” review here at HeidiTown. He is an excellent writer.

    I’ll be sure to follow you on Twitter!

    Amy, these vampires certainly do not twinkle or smirk!!! 😉


  5. I am blushing furiously over the fact that I was given an uncredited mention in a Heiditown review. I may actually be sparkling but have no mirror handy. Great review, I’ll wait for the DVD.


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