In the year 2019, the world has been overrun by vampires. They live the lives as humans did but at night, with humans being hunted for food and farmed for their blood. With the blood supply on the decline, hematologist Edward Dalton has been tasked with finding an alternate blood substitute. With all attempts failing, a chance encounter with a group of rouge humans turns Dalton into a partner with the humans to find a cure. Shunning his brother and his job, he discovers a possible solution after meeting former vampire Lionel ‘Elvis’ Cormac. The possibility of a cure still does not sit well with the vampire agencies, who simply want to replenish the food supply and eliminate human sympathizers.
Starring: Ethan Hawke (Edward Dalton), Willem Dafoe (Lionel ‘Elvis’ Cormac), Sam Neill (Charles Bromley), Claudia Karvan (Audrey Bennett), Michael Dorman (Frankie Dalton), Isabel Lucas (Allison Bromley)
Ethan Hawke plays the conflicted vampire doctor. While he works for a company that farms humans and is searching for a way to extend their supply, he consistently looks disgusted with his situation. His refusal to drink human blood and interest in finding a cure is well portrayed through a combination of sadness, intrigue and desire. Willem Dafoe mimics a usual character form, serious, strong and a little mad. He serves as the missing link between the vampire menace and the cure. Sam Neill represents true evil as the head of the corporation and through his hatred for humans. He exhibits his sinister nature through the forced metamorphosis of his daughter into a vampire. The female lead, Claudia Karvan, consistently keeps her distance but also has enough intrigue for the sympathetic doctor that she continually explores the possibility of salvation for the human survivors.
This dark film truly puts other vampire movies on their heads. In most vampire films, humans are still in control or the vampire nation is underground. In this case, vampires are the ruling class and the humans are being farmed like animals. There is a mixed message about the vampire outbreak being a blessing or a curse. For some, they were able to eliminate diseases by being turned. For others, they dread the idea of living forever (as does the young girl in the beginning of the film). The humans want to see a cure because they are being hunted or pressured to convert to the other side. I am not sure that the explosions after being staked feel right, but the technology aspects of protection from sunlight actually go beyond sun safety of other vampire films.
This was an entertaining dive into a horrific world of vampires and the fight for human survival. Not great but worth a shot.
Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5