Daybreakers [Blu-Ray] Michael & Peter Spierig

Daybreakers [Blu-Ray] Michael & Peter Spierig
It's time to welcome an incredibly talented new team of filmmakers to the world of cinema. From the opening scene of a young vampire girl leaving a suicide note to her parents before greeting the oblivion of dawn, it's clear that the Spierig brothers are working on an entirely different level than most writer/directors, regardless of genre. Without heavy-handed exposition, the world of Daybreakers is clearly and tastefully introduced during the opening credits via newspaper headlines, advertisements, television snippets and by simply showing the audience the world and its inhabitants. It's the year 2019 and a viral outbreak has transformed most of the population into vampires. The remaining humans are farmed for their blood like cattle. Some vampires, like haematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), don't agree with drinking human blood and subsist on pig juice, Angel-style. Animal or human, however, the supply of blood is running out and Dalton works to find a synthetic substitute. Compounding the problem, blood-deprived vamps begin feeding on themselves, and other vampires, quickening their degeneration into feral beasts. It's refreshing to see "normal" vampires so afraid of losing their last shreds of humanity. In fact, everything about Daybreakers is refreshing and unique. Most importantly, this is not a fantasy film; it is science fiction. Strict logic is adhered to in every aspect of this world and nothing is taken for granted. The Spierigs have invested zealous attention to detail in plot, art design, shot composition, visual and practical effects, score, you name it, and it stands out in Daybreakers. Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe are reliably excellent, and Sam Neil hasn't been this good in years, but the directors are the real stars of this picture. A feature-length "Making Of" is by far the most comprehensive look at the filmmaking process I've ever witnessed, covering every moment, from pitch to debut at TIFF. Perhaps most impressive is the revelation that the Spierigs, with no formal training, took on half of the VFX work themselves in order to keep costs down without compromising their vision. In addition to a great commentary track, the brothers included an entire picture-in-picture view of the movie, with storyboard and extensively pre-planned animatics. As if that wasn't enough, they've also restored their early short film, entitled The Big Picture, a fascinating piece in which a woman sees her possible future inexplicably broadcast from her television. Daybreakers is the Australian duo's first proper studio film, and it's a near masterpiece. I can't wait to see how their career blossoms. (Maple)