Sep 022019

Daybreakers is actually a pretty innovative vampire horror film giving viewers an interesting world run by vampires, running short on human blood to survive. The highlight, as he is in most films good and bad, is Willem Dafoe.




Genre(s): Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 98 min. – $22.99 | September 10, 2019

Date Published: 09/02/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: The Spierig Brothers
Writer(s): The Spierig Brothers
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan, Isabel Lucas, Vince Colosimo, Michael Dorman

Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (Dolby Atmos)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.

THE MOVIE — 3.5/5

Plot Synopsis: Ten years after a plague turns most of the world’s population into vampires, a critical blood shortage causes panic and gruesome mutations among the reanimated. Edward Dalton (ETHAN HAWKE), a vampire hematologist, tries to develop a blood substitute when he meets Lionel ‘Elvis’ Cormac (WILLEM DAFOE) and Audrey Bennett (CLAUDIA KARVAN), two fugitive humans who claim to have a possible cure. Edward casts his lot with them in the hope of perfecting the cure before it’s too late, with his boss, Charles Bromley (SAM NEILL) attempting to stop him.

Review: Generally vampire, and zombies for that matter, centric movies aren’t usually my thing, with a few exceptions. Daybreakers is a movie I’ve heard of but never got around to watching until now. And… I actually was fairly entertained. Sure, the $20 million budget showed itself as the wretched CGI blood was utilized but otherwise, the story, simple as it was, was well told and had an interesting hook. The movie taking place in a world full of vampires and regular humans quickly dying off as their pure blood is the nourishment vampires need to survive.

Performance wise, Ethan Hawke is engaging enough in the lead role, though the role itself doesn’t really allow much emotion, he has a few fine moments but nothing of particular note; Sam Neill is serviceable as the film’s primary villain; Claudia Karvan in the female lead, like Hawke, doesn’t make an impression one way or the other; and last Willem Dafoe is easily the highlight and sort of wish he held the lead, at least his unique delivery would’ve made an otherwise tame role a little more interesting.

The film was directed by Peter and Michael Spierig who marked their second feature film following 2003’s Undead and they would go on to helm Predestination (also starring Ethan Hawke), Jigsaw and Winchester. Stylistically, it has that bluish tint that I remember seeing in plenty other science-fictiony, “futuristic” films (this one takes place in 2019!) and an environment where it seems to be raining the majority of time. In any case, while there’s nothing new in terms of the direction or cinematography, still had an interesting and moody, even depressing atmosphere, which is a good thing considering the subject.



This release comes with a glossy slip cover and inside the redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentary – Co-Directors Peter and Michael Spierig and Creature Designer Steve Boyle. This is a fairly formal commentary as the trio break down the origins of the story, particularly the downsides of being a vampire, and delves into some of the more technical aspects.

BonusView Storyboards/Animatics is a picture-in-picture feature that  plays along with the movie. Only available on the Blu-ray disc.

The Making of Daybreakers (2:01:38) – This featurette is split into four parts covering the early development of the project, pre-production, production and post-production. Very wide encompassing behind-the-scenes featurette with numerous interviews with members of the cast and crew. If only we get this in-depth view of a production from other movies.

The Big Picture (13:51) is a short film from the The Spierig Brothers.

Poster Art Gallery and the Theatrical Trailer (2:27) round things out.


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Lionsgate releases Daybreakers onto 4K Ultra HD presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p high-definition transfer. Compared to other 4K catalog titles, I wouldn’t say this looked fantastic, in fact detail looked fairly standard, probably along the lines of a Blu-ray, perhaps just a tad better. Even so, black levels, for which there is plenty to judge, was stark and there were no obvious instances of artifacting or aliasing and colors are fairly striking thanks to the HDR (as mentioned in other reviews, my system does not have Dolby Vision capabilities).

AUDIO – 4.5/5

The audio also gets a decent upgrade going from the DTS-HD MA 7.1 to the newer Dolby Atmos track, and it does sound excellent. There’s quite a bit of depth during the action sequences, particularly at the end, while dialogue levels came through the center speakers with good clarity. Not sure this is reference work but still rather impressive, however I imagine the aforementioned Blu-ray track already sounded great in its own right.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Daybreakers is actually a pretty innovative vampire horror film giving viewers an interesting world run by vampires, running short on human blood to survive. The highlight, as he is in most films good and bad, is Willem Dafoe and while Ethan Hawke was fine in the lead, kind of wish Dafoe was the star. Still, the 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack offers up good video and excellent audio transfers and a great selection of bonus features, including a 2-hour making-of documentary.




The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>