Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Daybreakers Movie Poster Image
Moody vampire cautionary tale is heavy on action/violence.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

While the movie doesn't have strongly positive take-aways, its story is a metaphor for humans depleting natural resources with no concern for the future. The bad guys are shown trying to earn a profit from this crisis, while the heroes continually fight for the betterment of mankind and vampirekind. Human and vampire enemies must learn to trust one another.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though he's a vampire, hero Edward Dalton is actually a fairly positive role model, working tirelessly on a blood substitute to sustain his brethren (and refusing to drink human blood himself, believing that he shouldn't relieve his own suffering when so many others suffer). When a better solution arises, Dalton risks his life for it. When the time comes for him to work with humans, the groups put aside their differences and learn to trust one another. Although Dalton's brother joins an evil vampire army to hunt humans, Dalton honors his family ties.


Tons of fantasy violence -- it's less a horror movie than an action movie filled with fighting, gore, and some disturbing imagery (i.e. humans hanging from machines that harvest blood). The heroes wield crossbows and knives, while the bad guys generally fire high-powered dart guns (also a Taser). There Gallons of blood are shed, including guts spattering on walls, beheadings, limb-tearing, and an exploding head. In one subplot, starving vampires who are deprived of human blood begin to mutate; viewers see disturbing photos of this process.


The heroine runs around braless and in a tank top. But the story's vampire troubles leave very little time for sex, kissing, or romance.


Several uses of "f--k"" (including "motherf--ker") and plenty of uses of "s--t." Also words/phrases like "dammit," "hurts like hell," "goddamn," and "life's a bitch and then you don't die." One character uses colorful euphemisms like "it's as safe as barebacking a $5 whore."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke a lot of cigarettes.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKoji7280 September 12, 2011

Not even for a 15 year old.

Good movie. A twist on the usual vampire movie. This is not a movie for kids. I guess to each their own, but my common sense tells me to not even let a 15 ye... Continue reading
Adult Written bycallofduty5 August 16, 2011

omg gory

Wasn't expecting this to be very gory, but maybe i was wrong all other stuff like sex,drugs and language are moderate, but the violence is overwhelming and... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySynchronicity January 18, 2010

Bella's got nothing on this Edward! Twilight haters will love this, but not for kids

If you are a fan of Gattaca and/or vampires, and hate being asked "Are you on Team Jacob or Team Edward?", this is the movie for you. Be warned, thoug... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byThat90sguy October 28, 2012

Enjoyable, but could be better.

Daybreakers has an interesting premise where 95% of the world is ruled by vampires and the 5% of humans are etheir hiding from them, or being used to feed the v... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about how this movie compares to other vampire media. Why do you think vampires are so popular? Why do you think some vampire movies, etc. are so much more violent than others?

  • 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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love monsters

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