Daybreakers DVD Review

A happy vampire in DaybreakersDaybreakers, the modest hit from early January (modest meaning that it earned $30 million in the U.S. against a $20 million budget), bites its way onto DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday, bringing with it a clever idea, questionable writing and an impressive making-of featurette. For vampire fans, Daybreakers, despite its shortcomings, may be worth owning – as long as you can get past the fact that, by and large, the movie is downright bad.In Daybreakers, Ethan Hawke stars as vampire scientist who lives in a post-modern world where most of humanity has been ravaged by a vampire virus – or by the resulting vampires. Tasked with coming up with a synthetic blood that could replace the need to suck humans dry, Hawke’s character has become compassionate to the human cause. With the world’s population growing desperate (a lack of fresh blood causes otherwise civilized vampires to turn into blood-sucking creatures from hell), Hawke joins a small band of human freedom fighters to find the ultimate cure.

The movie started off with a lot of promise, but by the time the third act rolls around, it has pretty much crumbled into a poorly written, hammy pile of ash. A higher budget and some tinkering with the script could have made it  worthwhile, but instead Daybreakers has to settle for being a cheesy, absurd B-grade action-horror flick that will only appeal to those looking for mindless fun. Considering that the movie had such a great premise, I was expecting more.

Read my full Daybreakers movie review here.

Somewhat surprisingly, Daybreakers has been graced with an in-depth making-of featurette, one of two bonus features included on the DVD. The featurette, split into five or so chapters, examines in detail the process of selling the film, getting actors on board, pre-production, production and post-production, as well as the film’s screening to horror fans and the like. For anyone interested in how a movie gets made – especially by people who don’t have a lot of clout in the industry – the Daybreakers making-of featurette is well worth it.

The audio commentary is also quite good, as co-directors Peter and Michael Spierig and creature designer Steve Boyle discuss the movie’s ins and outs. They’re pretty entertaining to listen to and quite honest and direct about their production, except when faced with the truth that the screeching bats they inserted throughout the film are absolutely stupid.

Daybreakers isn’t a very good movie, but its premise and stars elevate it to some degree. However, this is one of the rare times when the bonus features on the DVD, while not plentiful, actually are better than the movie itself.

By Erik Samdahl
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