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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2010

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"Daybreakers" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-june-2010-daybreakers

Synopsis

In the year 2009, a plague strikes the human race, turning almost everyone into a vampire.  Ten years later the human race is nearly extinct and the vampires are now facing a serious food shortage.   With the vampires’ “blood banks” nearly exhausted and blood deprived creatures wreaking havoc on society, the vampires turn to their scientists for a blood substitute.  Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), the chief vampire hematologist, has a chance encounter which proves that there may be something out there even better than a blood substitute: a cure.

 

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 38 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman, and Sam Neill
  • Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Brief Nudity
  • Language: Moderate

Commentary

This film had a very intriguing premise and did a great job of portraying what the world would be like if vampires ruled the planet.  Little details such as the billboard signs and TV commercials were very clever and helped bring you into the vampire world.  However, the great setup of the first act quickly devolved into mediocrity.  The acting was globally weak with one exception: Sam Neill as blood bank tycoon Charles Bromley.  Special effects were above average, but the directors chose to add a lot of blood and gore to the later parts of the film that just seemed out of place to me.   Vampire film fans should give this movie a rental, as the original angle made for a nice change of pace from traditional vampire films.

Technical

Overall picture quality is pretty good on this disc.  The image is reasonably sharp throughout, with a lot of detail visible and only a small amount of grain.  Contrast is strong and black levels are deep, without smearing shadow detail.  Colors are muted, except for the scenes outside in the “human world,” which are richer and warmer in color tone.  Lionsgate went all out on the audio, including a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.  I run a full 7.1 setup in my media room, and definitely noticed the enhanced sense of surround panning offered by the discrete back surround channels.  Dynamics and bass were strong, and surround channel use was very effective.  Spatial effects were well done and dialogue was clear.

Extras

There are a quite a few extras on this disc.   Included is an audio commentary with the directors, a full length (over 2 hours!) HD “making of” feature, a poster art gallery, and the original theatrical trailer.  There is also BonusView enabled storyboarding and the Spierig brothers’ first short film, “The Big Picture.”  A second disc includes a DVD copy of the movie.