I don’t mean to say it’s bad. If you’re looking for a decent-ish vampire movie to fill up a few idle hours you could do way, way worse. The film was totally fun, and the concept is interesting enough to spawn an entire subgenre. I much prefer my vampires to be monsters than silver-haired weepy emo boytards.
That said, the movie is incredibly stupid. I was amazed not only at the idiocy on display by absolutely every single character, but also the directions in which they had to twist and torture traditional vampire mythology in order to make the plot work.
The plot of the movie is this: vampires rule the world, and less than 5% of the human population remains. What few mortals are still around are hunted down and rounded up into blood farms… but demand is far outpacing supply. The vamps are desperately seeking a method of creating synthetic blood — or they face extinction. Meanwhile, a ragtag band of human survivors have an incredibly esoteric and ungodly painful cure for vampirism — but they don’t know how it works or how to replicate it. They need the help of vampiric hemotologist Dr. What’s-his-nose in order to perfect the technique and reverse the worldwide spread of vampirism.
Here’s where the movie loses me: it was never able to convince me that the cure solution was better than the synthetic blood solution. Early in the movie it is established that vampires are immortal and perfectly capable of carrying out a relatively normal civilization… provided they can get their blood. It is explained in detail that vampirism is a cure for all human diseases; one of the main characters tells a story about how being turned cured his cancer.
The cure for cancer!? Holy crap! Sign me up!
The blood supply problem is an obvious concern, but ultimately a red herring. This is a low point in vampire history, to be sure, but necessity is the mother of invention, yeah? These vamps have cooked up all sorts of creative solutions for getting around in the daytime, integrating blood into their nostalgic human diets, and squeezing every last drop of precious lifegiving fluid out of a quickly dwindling supply. By the end of the movie they have synthetic blood too, completely independent of anything the human protagonists had done.
They were going to start mass-producing it in two days. “Two days?” I thought. “Shouldn’t a vampire’s standard unit of solar measurement be nights?” Apparently the writers didn’t think of that. There were a lot of things they didn’t think about.
Like, much to-do is made about Dr. What’s-his-nose’s personal hang-ups about drinking human blood. He didn’t want to be a vampire in the first damn place, so he’s arbitrarily decided that the cure is the optimal solution because vampires are bad rawr. But why does he get to make this decision for all of humanity? Once synthetic blood is openly and cheaply available the incentive to farm humans goes away. They make some noise about how “there will always be a few who are willing to pay extra for the real thing”, and that’s true — but that market could be seen to without the Matrix-style blood farms.
In most vampire stories, blood is precious because 1) vampires need a lot of it and 2) they need it to be fresh. Neither is true in Daybreakers; blood is sold in bags and mixed in with coffee. It can be shipped and stored and stockpiled, and a vamp only needs a comparatively small amount to stay alive and sane. There’s no need for them to take it “off the tap”, as it were. For the elitist blood snobs who insist on having real human blood, well, I already see the blood van parked out in front of the movie theater a couple times a year. If I go and give them a pint they reward me with a cookie and a juice box. In a world where my blood is the equivalent of a fine merlot they would give me a $100 bill instead.
Sure, you’d have caes where junkie vamps who want real blood but can’t afford it drain some poor bastard in a back alley… and that’s a problem worth solving. But society already has this problem. They’re called homicides. We have a system in place to deter, catch and punish people who do things like this.
And let us not forget that the heroes’ “nobody should be a vamp ever” ideal means throwing away the cure for cancer. Didn’t this asshole take a Hippocratic oath!?
So that’s why Daybreakers is stupid. The rules are set up in such a way to allow for a world in which humans and vampires co-exist peacefully, with everyone getting their needs met and both sides benefiting from the other. Indeed, the sentiment is that the majority population on both sides would leap at the chance. As an added bonus it is trivially easy for humans to become vampires, and vice-versa. (A vampire-turned-human can’t turn back into a vampire — but if you’re that wishy-washy you deserve to be frustrated for the rest of your short, stupid mortal life.)
What else did you watch this week, Brick?
Glad you asked! I also watched Stephen King’s The Mist. Here’s my review of that: GAH! That ending! GAH! GAAAAH!!