• Review Date: January 3, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Moody vampire cautionary tale is heavy on action/violence.
  • Review Date: January 3, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 98 minutes





What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke a lot of cigarettes.

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

Kids say

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?


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.

The movie even manages 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. Though it's possible to relax and go along for the ride, the movie also requires a little bit of forgiveness.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:January 8, 2010
DVD release date:May 11, 2010
Cast:Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe
Directors:Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody violence, language and brief nudity

This review of Daybreakers was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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, though...the vamps in Daybreakers don't sparkle in sunlight, and if you want a movie with those prissy wannabes, this isn't the Edward you're looking for. In 2019, ten years had passed since a plague that turned almost the entire human population into bloodsuckers. But the blood supply is close to dwindling as a company farms humans for blood. Yes, vamps are immortal. One vamp named Edward scrambles to find a substitute but as he meets a group of humans, he discovers something completely different. Once again, this is no Twilight. Vamps are engulfed in flames in sunlight, and one explodes graphically. Blood and gore are in just about every scene, there are ten f-bombs, and the scenes in the blood farm show human nudity (with wires and harnesses covering the lower halves of each human. These scenes are brief. Also, Edward smokes a lot. As with every other vampire movie ever, blood is consumed in cups and glasses. Finally, one of the humans wears a shirt but no bra, so outlines of her nipples are visible. Overall, Daybreakers is the first good vampire movie in years.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bymalibu_barbie January 14, 2010
I did liked this movie when I saw it only because it is something that it could happen someday and the story is well developed. But I dont think it is appropiate for all ages and the concept is negative and the effects aren't to die for.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
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 vampires. Problem is their running out of blood, and if they don't do something about it, they will deform and eventually die. So, some of them are looking for a cure. It's different and original yet the movie is flat almost the whole way through. The action can be exteremely over-the-top, such as a test subject exploding because of an experiment gone wrong, (laughed at that moment) or exploding vampires when they are stabbed at the heart. It's also very bloody. Language includes several uses of f--k and s--t. People are also seen naked when they are being farmed. Overall, this movie is ok, but could have been much better.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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