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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Spierig Brothers
Cast:
Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill
Writing Credits:
Spierig Brothers

Synopsis:
In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into vampires, but a blood supply shortage threatens their existence.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 5/11/2010

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Michael and Peter Spierig and Special Makeup Effects Designer Steve Boyle
• “Making of Daybreakers” Documentary
• “BonusView” Picture-in-Picture
• Short Film
• Poster Art Gallery
• Trailer & Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Daybreakers [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 27, 2019)

Ah, 2010! Back when vampires ruled the cinematic roost before zombies became all the rage!

2010’s Daybreakers offers its own spin on the subject. Set in the then-future of 2019, humans near extinction, as vampires comprise 95 percent of the world’s population.

This creates a problem for the dominant species: with so few humans left, how can they eat? This leads to shortages in the food supply and subsequent problems.

In an attempt to solve this issue, Dr. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) works on an artificial source of blood. Matters complicate when he meets Lionel “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe), a human who used to be a vampire, and whose status implies vampirism can be cured.

In the vampire-sated cinematic universe of 2010, Daybreakers escaped me. It didn’t help that the movie came out in early January, a traditional “dumping ground” for films the studios don’t really support.

Unsurprisingly, Daybreakers failed to find an audience. Submerged under the Avatar juggernaut, the movie sputtered to a final gross of $30 million in the US.

I can’t call it a shame that Daybreakers didn’t do well. While not a bad vampire movie, it lacks much to make it special.

When Daybreakers succeeds, it does so mainly due to the twists of its plot and the quality of its cast. With Hawke, Dafoe and Sam Neill in tow, we find a strong core of actors, and all bring good commitment and depth to their roles.

In addition, I do like the basic concept of the film. The ideas behind Daybreakers set up the movie for some heavy-handed social commentary – and can occasionally feel like a vampire-based riff on Ten Commandments - but I still feel the plot offers good twists on the usual blood-sucking notions.

Unfortunately, writers/director Peter and Michael Spierig can’t do a lot with the material, and Daybreakers can lack much clarity. Much of the time, the plot rambles in a vague manner, one that means it doesn’t progress as coherently as I’d like.

The second feature film from the Spierigs, I saw their three subsequent efforts – 2014’s Predestination, 2017’s Jigsaw and 2018’s Winchester first. A continuation of the Saw franchise, Jigsaw brings nothing more than a cheap money-grab, whereas Winchester becomes the biggest disappointment, as it fails to capitalize on its spooky potential.

Daybreakers most reminds me of Predestination, and not just because both star Hawke. Both also come with good basic plots and lackluster execution.

Though I think Daybreakers holds together better than the messy Predestination. That one gets so bogged down in its story paradoxes that it loses steam, whereas at least Daybreakers mostly makes sense as it goes.

The movie just doesn’t become better than average, though. Beyond the cleverness of its main plot, Daybreakers lacks much to separate it from its horror/action brethren.

This means Daybreakers brings us a perfectly watchable 97 minutes of filmed entertainment and that’s about it. A moderately interesting tale, it never turns into anything special.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Daybreakers appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite some inconsistencies, this usually came across as a positive presentation.

Sharpness became the main point of contention, as the image could occasionally seem oddly soft. While most of the movie looked well-defined, a few minor instances of slightly blurry material emerged.

I witnessed no instances or moiré effects or jaggies, and the film lacked edge haloes. Print flaws never materialized.

Although I won’t call Daybreakers the most teal-heavy film I’ve ever seen, it resides high on that list, as the palette leaned very heavily in that domain. Amber appeared in daytime scenes, and we got some straight green as well, but expect oppressive levels of teal. These tones looked ridiculous at times, but I felt the disc reproduced them as depicted – God help us all.

Blacks could seem a little inky, but they usually showed good delineation, and shadows offered reasonable clarity. Most of the film seemed pretty appealing, but it never became a great image.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack boasted the expected violent impact. The mix used music as an active participant and also kicked into higher gear during its action sequences.

Those came across with a lot of involvement, as gunfire, various vehicles and other violent elements filled the channels. They showed strong localization and blended smoothly, with material that veered from one channel to another in a natural manner.

Audio quality excelled as well, with music that appeared vivid and full. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, and the lines lacked edginess or other issues.

Of course, effects stood out the most, and those elements demonstrated fine reproduction. They showed good accuracy and range, with tight, bold low-end when necessary. I felt satisfied with this above-average soundtrack.

As we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary with writers/directors Peter and Michael Spierig and special makeup dffects designer Steve Boyle. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, creature design and various effects, editing, music, sets and locations, influences, and related domains.

Boyle and the Spierigs combine for an informative and enjoyable commentary. They touch on a nice array of topics and dig into the film’s creation with gusto to make this a very good chat.

If you select Bonusview, you’ll gain a picture-in-picture feature that accompanies the movie. It shows storyboards and animatics that correspond to the action on screen.

In this case, the visuals use a small box in alternating corners of the screen, and they provide images pretty much continually. This becomes a good presentation that works nicely, as the boards/animatics are there to be viewer when you want but they don’t distract when you don’t.

The Making of Daybreakers runs two hours, one minute, 38 seconds. The program offers info from Peter and Michael Spierig, Boyle, executive producer Jason Constantine, producer Chris Brown, co-producer Todd Fellman, director of photography Ben Nott, costume/production designer George Liddle, visual effects supervisor Rangi Sutton, composer Christopher Gordon, and actors Claudia Karvan, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Isabel Lucas and Michael Dorman.

“Making” examines the vampire genre and story/character areas, the film’s path to the screen and pre-production. From there we get into creature design and makeup, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography, costumes, stunts and action, editing, effects, music, sound, and the film’s release.

In other words, “Making” looks at pretty much everything. With two hours at its disposal, I expect a comprehensive overview, and “Making” brings that. It becomes a lively, informative and honest take on the production.

A short film called The Big Picture lasts 13 minutes, 51 seconds. It shows a woman whose TV shows her the future. Picture offers a sporadically engaging fable that doesn’t completely live up to its premise – and its shock ending feels stupid and gratuitous.

A Poster Art Gallery brings seven images. The advertisements are interesting enough, though we don’t get many.

The disc opens with ads for From Paris With Love and Gamer. We also get the trailer for Daybreakers.

As vampire movies go, Daybreakers winds up in the middle of the pack. While it comes with some positives, it doesn’t use these well enough to excel. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture and audio as well as a nice roster of bonus materials. Expect a watchable but forgettable tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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