Critics Consensus

Though it arrives during an unfortunate glut of vampire movies, Daybreakers offers enough dark sci-fi thrills -- and enough of a unique twist on the genre -- to satisfy filmgoers.



Total Count: 149


Audience Score

User Ratings: 209,115
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Movie Info

Fresh off the success of their inventive take on the zombie genre, Undead masterminds Michael and Peter Spierig direct Ethan Hawke in an ambitious tale of a futuristic Earth populated entirely by vampires, and the efforts made by the creatures to ensure that their food supply doesn't run out as humankind is faced with extinction. The year is 2017, and a vampire plague has turned most of the planet's human population into bloodsucking ghouls. As the population of mortals fast begins to dwindle, a vampiric corporation sets out to capture and farm every remaining human while simultaneously researching a consumable blood substitute, headed by undead hematologist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke). His work is interrupted after stumbling onto a pocket of human survivors lead by Elvis (Willem Dafoe), a former vampire, whose past reveals a cure that could reverse the tide and save the human race. With time running out, Dalton's only hope lies in outsmarting the security forces of his boss (Sam Neill), whose goal isn't just to find a substitute, but to repopulate humanity in order to sell its blood to the highest bidder. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Ethan Hawke
as Edward Dalton
Willem Dafoe
as Lionel 'Elvis' Cormac
Isabel Lucas
as Alison Bromley
Sam Neill
as Charles Bromley
Vince Colosimo
as Christopher Caruso
Jay Laga'aia
as Senator Turner
Claudia Karvan
as Audrey Bennett
Michael Dorman
as Frankie Dalton
Harriet Minto-Day
as Lisa Barrett
Damien Garvey
as Senator Westlake
Carl Rush
as Al Walker
Paul Sonkkila
as General Williams
Todd Levi
as Commissioner Turnbull
Mungo McKay
as Colin Briggs
Emma Randall
as Ellie Landon
Charlotte Wilson
as Joy Watkins
John Gibson
as Detective Cosgrove
Robyn Moore
as Forensic Investigator Simms
Troy MacKinder
as Officer Hobbs
Christopher Kirby
as Jarvis Bayom
Des Coroy
as Businessman
Gabriella di Labio
as Businesswoman
Sahaj Dumpleton
as Homeless Vampire
Ben Siemer
as Police Officer
Peter Welman
as Police Officer
Callum Mclean
as Vampire School Kid
Jarrad Pon
as Vampire School Kid
Victoria Williams
as Vampire School Kid
Zoe White
as Vampire School Kid
Konrad Whitten
as Weathered Human
Aolani Roy
as Vampire School Kid
Tiffany Lamb
as News Reader
Renai Caruso
as Coffee Shop Attendant
Chris Brown (II)
as Subway Commuter
Kirsten Cameron
as Subway Commuter
Rohan Smith
as Police Officer in Car
Wayne Smith
as Inmate 4075B
Berni Chin
as Lab Technician
Kevin Zwierzchaczewski
as Lab Technician
Joel Spreadborough
as Vampire Subject
Jane Wallace
as Bromley's Assistant
Bryan Probets
as Subsider in Kitchen
Glen Martin
as Coffee Buyer
David Vallon
as Janitor
Anne Bennetts
as Onlooker
Kellie Vella
as Subsider in Garage
Scot McQade
as Security Desk Officer
Jack Bradford
as Security Guard #1
Mark Finden
as Young Vampire Cadet
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News & Interviews for Daybreakers

Critic Reviews for Daybreakers

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (101) | Rotten (48)

  • Daybreakers is the pinnacle of fun, modern sci-fi horror actioners.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Interested in societal collapse - that is, when it's not more interested in the super cool way these vampires explode when stabbed

    Jan 10, 2010 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • Hawke gives his all here -- or maybe just half his all -- and it isn't quite enough: He's trying to be soulful, but he really just looks a little tired. The real delight is Willem Dafoe.

    Jan 8, 2010
  • For the lowbrow, the thrill is a level of fleshy explosiveness reminiscent of David Cronenberg's Scanners. No one dies quietly; he must either detonate like Hiroshima or burst into juicy red chunks of viscera.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Daybreakers is more fun than foreboding; it's fright-lite, yet that's par for the bloody course in these busy apocalyptic days.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The narrative may flag, but the doomsday atmosphere and George Liddleâ(TM)s production design remain vivid until the final, blood-splattered reel.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Daybreakers

  • Oct 28, 2017
    Vampires have mostly been an afterthought these days, Taking a backseat to zombies but this film was pretty fun at times with some good action scenes, It's pretty gory and the dark tone worked well too, A few twists keep it ticking over, It won't jump anyone on to the vampire bandwagon but it's worth watching even if it's nothing memorable in the long run.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2013
    [img][/img] Confused, unfocused but rather intriguing. Daybreakers is the perfect example of a high concept action thriler that suffers because of it's budget restrains but benefits due to a capable cast and startling visual imagery. The gore used in the film is almost completely computer generated, I think if it was taken in the physical handmade direction it would have been a lot cooler and a huge deal more striking. Etiher way the dazzling and gorgeous cinematography and moments of interesting direction make up for it's overly convoluted story. Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill manage to bring more to their highly typical characters than necessary with light character development and charisma. Not only is the action in the film decent for it's budget but I think within it's ambitious premise is an underlying political subtext concerning the need for clean energy in the modern world. The low budget however does have it's downsides. Most action sequences in the film aren't as thrilling as they should be and feel like they should be more climactic and realistic. But Daybreakers captures the dystopian future feel absolutely flawlessly and manages to build enough moments of tension for a pedestrian but satisfying action horror flick. There have been a lot of vampire movies churned off the shlock production line recenty but the combination of campness and seriousness with the addition of depth in Daybreakers deems it something that much more intelligent and unique. The construction flaws in it are various but it manages to escape the bloatedness of it's sub plots with exciting, unadulterated, action packed madness.
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2012
    With a daring and bold vision, Daybreakers delivers a fascinating and terrifying look at a world ruled by vampires. After vampires hunt the human race to near extinction, their society starts to collapse as the blood supply runs out. The cast includes Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Neill, who all delivery solid performances. The concept of the film is quite intriguing, and is used very effectively. Additionally, the surrealist visual style works to enhance the tone and atmosphere of the film. Daybreakers is a provocative and compelling thriller that manages to avoid the major tropes of the vampire genre.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    In a world run by vampires who farm humans for their blood, a hematologist discovers the cure. I liked the film's unique take on the vampire genre, the idea that with all their extraordinary powers, it's unlikely that vampires would live in an Anne Rice level of hiding and self-despair. By extension, it's unlikely that vampires would abandon human vices like greed and a power-hungry obsession with controlling others, so the Sam Neill character was an excellent villain both thematically and in the actor's performance. Ethan Hawke may be trying to be understated and soulful, but mostly, he looks weary and disinterested. What motivates Edward's care for humans? Why does he find himself and his predicament despicable? The Anne Rice level of existential despair should at least make a mild comeback if he's going to be the film's protagonist. As an actor, Hawke often makes the mistake of thinking that his brooding looks and absent demeanor do all the character work necessary to keep us interested, but when he's partnered with a personality as big as Willem Dafoe's, Hawke shrinks into the scenery. I also thought that some of the plot twists in the third act were predictable. Overall, the ideas necessary for good science fiction are actually here, but the story and Ethan Hawke's performance kept <i>Daybreakers</i> from being a stronger film.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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