Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, and Claudia Karvan star in DAYBREAKERS, directed by Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig.

Daybreakers (2009, Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig)

According to the gaggle of morons who saw the film in the same theater I did, the end of Daybreakers is stupid. Why anyone would release what’s essentially a film noir slash action slash vampire movie in American theaters is beyond me… at least outside of areas with high literacy rates (I live in a low literacy rate area, lucky me).

It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s violent, Daybreakers is the kind of movie no one makes anymore. It has a lot in common, in terms of execution (it’s well-directed, well-written, well-acted), with Carpenter’s Escape from New York. It’s a genre picture, there are effects, but it’s not for the pleebs. I can’t even imagine how Lionsgate tried to advertise it.

The film keeps its vampire conventions simple and traditional so it can play better. It’s future America with vampires is frightening banal. From the start, the world of vampires isn’t a leap of the imagination, it’s completely believable.

The Spierig’s direction is, just like it was in their first film, fantastic. Here they do a lot more, since it’s such a mix of genres. I’m actually glad Daybreakers isn’t a hit, since it’d be terrible to see them do a Matrix someday. Though I would love to see them do a romantic comedy. They’re fantastic filmmakers.

The acting’s all great, especially, shockingly, Sam Neill, who finally learned how to chew scenery. Willem Dafoe’s hilarious in his part of a good ol’ boy (written by Australians).

Wonderful stuff.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Written and directed by Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig; director of photography, Ben Nott; edited by Matt Villa; music by Christopher Gordon; production designer, George Liddle; produced by Bryan Furst, Sean Furst and Chris Brown; released by Lionsgate.

Starring Ethan Hawke (Edward Dalton), Claudia Karvan (Audrey Bennett), Willem Dafoe (Lionel “Elvis” Cormac), Michael Dorman (Frankie Dalton), Vince Colosimo (Caruso), Isabel Lucas (Alison) and Sam Neill (Charles Bromley).

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