A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Daybreakers is an action-oriented vampire movie that's heavy on blood, gore, and violence -- in other words, it's no angsty, teen-friendly Twilight. Be ready for disturbing images that depict hungry vampires mutating into horrible creatures, as well as some characters enduring excruciating pain as a way to be "reborn." There's also plenty of strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and smoking. The movie has a slightly veiled message about the excessive consumption of natural resources, and the main character actually has admirable traits -- including honor, decency, and selflessness -- but some of that gets lost amid the over-the-top, comic book-like tone and gallons of spilled (and splattered) blood.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In the year 2019, the vampire population has exploded, and the few remaining humans are hunted for food. But when the human population runs out, so does the blood. Worse, the vampires have discovered that when they're deprived of blood, they'll mutate into hideous creatures. Vampire Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) works to invent a blood substitute, but when he crashes into a carload of humans, he discovers something even better: a cure. Crossbow-wielding "Elvis" (Willem Dafoe) is the key to this, but unfortunately, his evil, profiteering boss (Sam Neill) would rather make money from the blood substitute and will stop at nothing to prevent Dalton from succeeding.
Is it any good?
Though it's possible to relax and go along for the ride, this movie also requires a little bit of forgiveness. It does manage to say a little something about the rampant consumption of Earth's natural resources without seeming too obvious or preachy, but it also ramps up the blood, gore, and violence to an almost ridiculous degree and very often chucks logic out the door in exchange for some thrills.
Directed by the Spierig brothers on the heels of their zombie comedy Undead, DAYBREAKERS establishes a film noir-like mood, with men wearing stylish hats and smoking a great deal -- not to mention the fact that it's perpetually dark. Then, halfway through, the filmmakers successfully manage to switch moods from the grim shadows to a wide-open, sun-baked chase movie with weapons. Though it borrows many of its ideas from older movies, the combination makes them seem fresh.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the movie address the dwindling of Earth's natural resources? How did the vampires deal with the problem, and how are humans dealing with similar problems right now? What can people do to help?
The bad-guy vampire character and his daughter (a human) have very different beliefs. How could they have come to a compromise?
- In theaters: January 8, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: May 11, 2010
- Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe
- Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language and brief nudity
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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