Seeing Daybreakers’ trailer first had me really intrigued. The premise was interesting enough: vampires comprise majority of the population and they’re running out of humans so they end up farming what’s left for blood. I mean, we’re out of original ideas here so might as well reverse the wheel and put humans in the place of the ones who are hiding. Ethan Hawke plays a hematologist whose job is to find a blood substitute that can be mass produced before the world turns into chaos. He also happens to be one of the very few vampires who empathize with humans; he would rather be one than remain a member of the walking dead.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later, I chanced upon the poster beside the Glorietta movie theaters. I swear, if I didn’t search the internet for the US release posters, I would think that the producers ran out of budget for marketing. The local posters might as well put a neon sign that said “B MOVIE” on them. They were that bad. The funny thing was, those posters made me even more interested in seeing the flick. I came in expecting to see a B movie and to have the biggest laugh of my stress-filled life.
I came out of the theater thoroughly charmed.
Forget about The Matrix references (one of the US posters made a lot of people think that). Besides the predominantly monochromatic blue imagery, there’s very little to compare with The Matrix to. I love the way directors Peter and Michael Spierig depicted how a race of vampires would run the world in 2019. You see kids smoking (who cares about your lungs when you don’t breathe, right?), people drinking blood-laced frapuccinos and lattes, politicians arguing about what to do with humans on national TV, executives driving kick-ass “day mode” cars that allow one to see the road through visual monitors while the windows blocked out the sunlight, etc. Sometimes the screen would split horizontally to show the contrast between high-standard urban living and the depressing squalor beneath the city. The sewers are infested with malnourished vampires that have become so deformed they’ve lost every ounce of humanity they once had, reduced to mindless beasts by poverty. Blood becomes an expensive commodity that only a select few can afford and even the select few become fewer as the supply dwindles. Certainly beats New Moon, if you ask me.
If you want to be philosophical, you could relate the plot to how we human beings abuse our natural resources to the point of depletion and then we can insert theoretical, conceptual and operational frameworks here. I’m not about to go philosophical, however. I think I’m pretty consistent when I continuously say I dislike intellectualizing my entertainment; actor Ethan Hawke himself said that the film used “cheap art” and that it is silly and unpretentious. That is exactly how I would describe Daybreakers — unpretentious. Except for that annoying bat that would appear and try to scare the audience from time to time, the movie delivered what it was supposed to deliver: ENTERTAINMENT. I think all loose ends were tied nicely, sprinkled with a forgettable cheesy line or two, while the ending was kept open.
As I mentioned earlier, I found Daybreakers to be a charming piece of novelty. Somehow it reminds me of Equilibrium, that Christian Bale starrer that was ridden with plot holes but was cute nonetheless.