Movie Review: Daybreakers

As overworked as the whole vampire genre is, it's obviously not played out, though I couldn't tell you why.

So Daybreakers, which opens Friday (1/8/10), comes as a welcome treat, a speculative sci-fi film disguised as a horror story, or perhaps a blend of the two. While the vampires are the heroes, they're also the villains. But, since Twilight and True Blood, those lines have been pretty much obliterated anyway.

In fact, this didn't even have to be vampires. As the Spierig brothers' script has it, the plague that's wracked the world could be anything that produces a kind of living death. It just happens that vampirism is easy to explain, quick to register with viewers and full of rules the audience already knows.

It's a decade in the future and, as seems to happen regularly in the movies, a plague has swept the planet. As in Zombieland, 28 Days Later and several other films, almost everyone has been turned into some sort of living dead -- in this case, into vampires.

The twist is that, even as they've come to dominate the planet, the vampires have maintained their human identities. Undead life has changed business hours from day to night -- but otherwise, the corporate sphere still controls the world; government and commerce function as before, except with that diurnal/nocturnal flip-flop.

But a crisis looms: The highly organized vampire community has, excuse the pun, bled the world nearly dry. The supply of humans is dwindling rapidly.