Daybreakers: Blood Sucking Capitalists And Other Tired Clichés.

Directors:Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
Starring:Ethan Hawke
Willem Dafoe
Sam Neill
Michael Dorman

        The great thing about horror/action movies, even some of the bad ones, is the escape which they provide. Buy a ticket. Buy some popcorn. Find a seat. Watch zombies get decapitated. Watch vampires get staked. Watch aliens get zapped. Spend a couple of hours of good wholesome fun. At least that's what I was expecting when I went into “Daybreakers”. However, I soon found that there was no break to be had.

        The first movie directed by the Spierig Brothers was a romantic short called “The Big Picture” which was released in 2000. Their second movie was a campy zombie comedy called “Undead” which was released in 2003. Seven years later “Daybreakers” was released. While actually their third effort, it is their first serious full length movie with wide U.S. release and big name star power. The major talents in “Daybreakers”, among a long list of relative unknowns, are Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Neill. This must have seemed a pretty ambitious leap for a couple of writing/directing brothers from Germany who sport a resume of a film short, a campy comedy, and a five year gap. Which begs the question, “why were these relative neophytes given a stack of Hollywood cash to burn through?” My guess is that it was their script. Something in that script resonated with the American film industry. My guess, again, is that it was the writers' overwhelming sense of self-loathing and disdain for U.S. power, both of which most commonly come from native European socialists, American Ivy League students, the current elitist leadership in D.C., and Hollywood.

        “Daybreakers” takes place in the year 2019. Almost everyone in the world has been turned into a vampire due to a disease initially spread by a bat. The human population which has not been turned has instead been killed, been harvested, or has gone into hiding. As such, the world is facing a commodity crisis, a shortage in the human blood supply. This serves as ham-fisted allegory to oil as vampires ask, “What do we do when there's ... not a drop left?” This human blood shortage is a big problem because, in the world of “Daybreakers”, a vampire who starves eventually turns into... wait for it... a mindless, deformed, human-bat-vampire! Luckily into this vampire apocalypse of wandering, hungry, and homeless vampires (that's right, homeless vampires), where the newspapers declare that the blood shortage is hitting the Third World the hardest (again, yes), comes a heroic vampire hematologist (Ethan Hawke). This hero is desperately searching for a blood substitute (uh-huh, alternative sources of blood) which would end the crisis. Unfortunately, he works for a stereotypical Hollywood evil corporation headed by a stereotypical Hollywood evil C.E.O. (Sam Neill). And this evil vampire C.E.O. considers any possible blood substitute to be a solution for the great vampire unwashed while real human blood is to be reserved for a “higher market” of private investor elitist vampires, like himself.

        But before the hero, who has sworn off human blood, can find a substitute, he helps a group of humans escape detection and capture. In doing so, the hero runs afoul of the evil vampire authorities including his own vampire brother (Michael Dorman). His brother is a soldier in a stereotypical Hollywood evil American Army. An army which is represented by posters of a vampire Uncle Sam who profers slogans such as, “I Want You... To Capture All Humans”, and “What Do We Do Now?” His brother enjoys both his military career and his vampirism and explains the former while alluding to the latter, “you don't get why I joined, I always felt odd being human.”

        On the run, the hero encounters a human who was a vampire and yet was mysteriously cured (Willem Dafoe). The hero then forgets about a blood substitute and starts working on a cure to vampirism. Meanwhile, back in the city, the deformed human-bat-vampire population is becoming a problem, so they are rounded up by the evil vampire army, placed in good old American slave shackles, and dragged out into the sunlight as a final solution. Eventually the hero finds the cure just as his vampire co-workers back at his lab find a blood substitute. But in the end, the evil vampire corporation rejects the cure in favor of the substitute because, “It's not about a cure, it's about repeat business.”

        Somewhere amid their naive and puerile swipes at Market Capitalism, corporations, C.E.O.s, oil, U.S. power, the military, Uncle Sam, and the U.S. abolition of the European Slave Economy, somewhere in their dervish tirade of A.D.D. and leftist vitriol, the Spierig brothers must have thought that the way to make a vampire movie was to make a movie in which everyone is a vampire. Look, let me be as blunt as “Daybreakers”, the Spierig brothers make their very low opinion of The U.S. and Market Capitalism very clear. Oblige them.

Hollywood, STFU Rating: 5 Hammer and Sickles