Daybreakers Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 2
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 11, 2010
- List Price: $39.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
It seems like vampires are everywhere in popular culture today. From the saccharine, overwrought Twilight films to The CW network’s Vampire Diaries, Hollywood and Madison Avenue are cashing in on young women’s newfound fascination with the romanticized notion of the undead. But vampire lore has been around far longer than Kristen Stewart.
When it comes to horror films, the vampire genre is arguably the most popular of all, rivaled only, perhaps, by the zombie films. So, what can possibly be added to this long running genre of mythology and storytelling that we haven’t already seen and heard?
Australian filmmaking brothers Michael and Peter Spierig offer up their addition to the vampire legends with Daybreakers, a mixture of science fiction, horror, and futuristic goth. It’s 2019 and vampires have taken over the world. They’ve turned all but a few humans into creatures of the night. There’s a problem now, however — they are running out of human blood to feed on. They’ve begun farming humans for blood production, but it’s not enough. Some vampires have even begun to feed on other vampires, which has led to a nasty and violent mutation.
Vampire Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a human sympathizer and hematologist who works at one of the corporations farming humans, is trying to find a substitute for human blood, but he falls in with a gang of human rebels after a car accident on his way home one night. Led by an ex-vampire named Elvis (Willem Dafoe) who was miraculously changed back to human, the human rebels enlist Edward’s help to find a cure for vampirism to set the world right again.
Daybreakers isn’t anything groundbreaking when it comes to horror or vampire films. There are all the usual traits of vampire physiology and mythology thrown into the mix and the gothic overtones, but it does have a welcome blend of futuristic elements and gory horror that leaves it feeling like a mix between Gattaca and The Lost Boys.
Captured on Panavision Genesis HD cameras, Daybreakers‘ techno-gothic world looks wonderful in this 2.40:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Lionsgate. The color palette won’t leap out at you, but the dark settings offer plenty of opportunities for shadows, contrast and black levels to be put on display. The picture is clean and detailed with a lack of video noise, but there are a few moments here and there where some softness creeps in keeping it from being absolutely perfect.
Daybreakers is given an aggressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix and unlike the Dirty Dancing: Limited Keepsake Edition release also from Lionsgate that I recently reviewed, this film actually benefits from those additional channels. It’s an engulfing and engrossing mix with much discrete use made of the back channels and surrounds. Dialogue is clean and there’s a wide dynamic range.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Audio Commentary with the Spierig Bros. and Steve Boyle
- BonusView Storyboards/Animatics — View storyboards and animatics of scenes in BonusView picture-in-picture while watching the movie.
- The Making of Daybreakers (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 2:01.38) — This is one of the more informative and in-depth “making of” featurettes on a movie disc, clocking in at over two hours.
- The Big Picture — Spierig Bros. Short Film (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:13.51)
- Poster Art Gallery (1080p)
- Theatrical Trailer (2.40:1; 1080p/24)
- BD Touch — This feature is supposed to allow you to access special features on the disc from your iPhone or iPod Touch, assuming you are using a network connected Blu-ray player, but I could not get it to work with either my iPod Touch or iPad. Perhaps it will be enabled upon the official release date.
- Metamenu Remote enabled
- LG Live — BD-Live feature that allows access to ringtones, wallpapers, special offers and more.
- Digital Copy — Standard definition digital copy for transfer to Mac/PC or iPod/Windows Media compatible devices.
The Definitive Word
Daybreakers may not be the greatest vampire film you’ll ever see, but it is ultimately watchable and the excellent Blu-ray release from Lionsgate makes it all the more enjoyable, especially the 7.1 lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
Additional Screen Captures: