Review: “Daybreakers” is awesome

* * * out of four stars

Fans of true vampire literature (not that “Twilight” crap) will not be disappointed with “Daybreakers,” a new vampire flick from the Spierig Brothers (“Undead”).

Set in the year 2019, when humans have almost completely been hunted and harvested by vampires, “Daybreakers” sets an appropriately dark and grim stage, with vampires over-populating the earth and not enough blood to sustain them.

Ethan Hawke (“Lord of War,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”) plays Edward Dalton, a vampire scientist trying to find a formula for a legitimate blood substitute. Unlike most vampires, Dalton refuses to drink human blood, and instead settles for harvested animal blood. When he is discovered by a group of humans, he is asked to work with them on something more valuable… a cure.

There is a lot of poverty and starvation in “Daybreakers.” In fact, it’s not even treated as a subplot. It’s given equal time to the rest of the story. Sometimes it’s hard to watch, as it draws frightening parallels to society today, not literally, but definitely symbolically.

“Daybreakers” is awesome. It’s the most satisfying vampire epic since “30 Days of Night,” and even belongs in the same ranks as “Blade” and “Interview With the Vampire.” It has a style both flashy and subdued. This is not a movie that thrives on effects. In fact, you won’t even notice them.

Ethan Hawke is good as always. I also thought Sam Neill (“Jurassic Park”) did a fine job as the film’s villainous corporate head. The show-stealer for this one was (no surprise), Willem Dafoe, who received an Oscar nomination for his vampiric role in “Shadow of the Vampire.” He’s good in this one too.

Horror fans will have a blast with this one. Plenty of gore, stakes through the heart, and bloodsucking to please any fan of the genre. The story is very good, and while the film occasionally gets predictable, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the better horror films in a long time.

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