At first glance, one of Australia’s most anticipated films of 2010 hardly looks like a local. With Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe taking the leads, Australian twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig are doing their bit to cash in on the current vampire craze. It’s 2019 and ten years after a vampire pandemic brought about the dusk of humanity. Indeed, humans are now too rare a commodity, and with blood supplies perilously dwindling, bank runs take on a whole new meaning.
Reluctant vamp and haematologist Edward Dalton (Hawke) is under the gun from his steely boss (Sam Neill), trying to manufacture a substitute (oh for some True Blood!), while a starving population starts feeding on itself, to rather gruesome ends. However a chance encounter with a band of humans leads Dalton to team up with the plucky Audrey (Love My Way’s Claudia Karvan), a wry Elvis (Dafoe) and to discover a truly revolutionary opportunity.
Despite this fascinating premise and the careful construction of ingeniously retrofitted world, Daybreakers fails to dazzle. Granted, it’s fun to watch local talent like Karvan, Vince Colosimo (Underbelly), Isabel Lucas (Transformers 2) and Michael Dorman (Prime Mover) bandy about with crossbows and American accents, however the scripting of these underdeveloped characters render most mere plot points.
But fans of the genre won’t be disappointed. The Spierig brothers aren’t afraid to get very bloody – and although the climactic shootout looks like it takes place on the Matrix lobby set, it (and the rest of the film) is packed with gruesome, gory goodness.
Published on Concrete Playground
Australian release date: 4 February 2010