Wednesday, January 13, 2010
So i finally saw Daybreakers late last night. I was hoping to have seen it this past weekend as promised, but I didn't get a chance. I hope all of you that were anxiously awaiting my response didn't go crazy with impatience and kill yourself. That is my hope.
But, now I do have thoughts on it. I don't know if this movie was so profound that it made me think the following, or if it was merely the straw..., but I can't review Daybreakers without first addressing whether scary movies are even scary. What? excuse me? well, let me elaborate. I was going to review this movie as one is wont to do as to whether it is scary or not. After all, it is a "scary movie" about monsters and doomsday with blood and guts. But as I was considering this I started thinking "are any scary movies actually scary"? And I am sure there are many scaredy-cats out there that would give an unequivocal "YES!" And i don't begrudge them that. I am in the scaring people business with my haunted house, where if you don't scare people you might as well not exist. And I can see people being scared. And I also know that there are certain people that will be scared of everything. Even though it is nice to hear their screams, I know it wasn't too hard to do. So I don't determine how scary my haunted house is based on them.
And that's even more true with movies, that in so many ways over the years have become more like haunted houses. Now scary movies confuse startling with scary. Something pops out of nowhere accompanied by a loud noise, all the girls in the crowd squeal and voila, scary movie. This is a haunted house attraction formula. One of the reasons haunted houses do it is because it is very difficult to create a truly unnerving environment with ambiance alone. With the constant movement, with the crowds, with the noise and light bleeds, with the necessary brevity with the scenarios, etc. Creepy can only last a few seconds and that is hard to make something truly creepy. Movies don't have this problem, yet they treat themselves as if they do.
This has become so true that by and large scary movies don't even really set out to be all that scary. The scariest movies to me are more unnerving, unsettling and creepy. Not terrifying. I'm a grown man, I am not going to be terrified by things that I know aren't real. but I can be unsettled. The only movies that have done that to me recently are not even necessarily "horror movies" like "Funny Games", "The Strangers", "Anti-Christ", "Audition", and "Lost Highway." These movies made me feel uneasy and gave me the chills a few times. But they never made me want to sleep with the lights on. And then comes Daybreakers. A pretty entertaining, attractive, smart, original dark movie about Vampires, which when talking about what is supposed to be a scary movie should have been super scary. But it wasn't. It isn't even remotely scary, nor did there appear to be much effort put in on behalf of that.
What it is, is clever. A world where the vampires are the population and their lives look a lot like ours except they have pointy teeth and are seriously allergic to sunlight. but it merely tells this story. A story about a world where the vampires have eaten and/or turned so many humans that only 5% of the human population remains. How do they survive? What do they do?! They could be us now. The parable here is much more important than the scary. Vampires, like the western world, will suck the life out of all their resources until we have destroyed ourselves. Who knew two of the most environmentally conscious movies of the year would be Avatar and Day Breakers. I can see the genesis of the idea now. One of the two Australian filmmakers who made this film, The Spierig Brothers, heard someone say something in a pub about how we are sucking the earth dry like a bunch of bloody vampires, and they thought "what if that were true? But not allegorically. Like we were a bunch of vampires and the resource that they need is Human blood?" and then they made the movie.
So that's all i got. I did enjoy it, the vampires were vicious, but the M/O of the film was something other than to scare you. But it is a good story, wholly original, and I enjoyed watching most of it.