Willem Dafoe is a vampire hunter who used to be a vampire, working with Ethan Hawke who is still a vampire, to find a way to stop vampires from eating mankind into extinction. The premise for this movie is interesting, the setting, the characters and the way it is displayed to us is amazing. The only problem is the movie fails to live up to these unique ideas and instead swings wildly on the edge of becoming great or looking like a parody. Unfortunately I laughed more times then I should have, and while a vampire series like True Blood has room for parody and over the top antics, this movie deserved better.
The world was introduced with a sort of plague and vampires became real. In the not so distant future (one of my favorite time periods for a movie) vampires (one of my favorite monsters for a movie) have taken over and humanity is on the brink of destruction (one of my favorite dilemmas for a movie) because the vampires failed to plan ahead and recycle (one of my least favorite topics for a movie) their livestock. The result is a vampire run world, with many amazing details and well thought out inventions.
The vampires have cameras installed in shaving kits and car mirrors (because they can’t see themselves in them) and underground subways to get around during the day because these vampires don’t sparkle in sunlight. They horrifically explode into flames like all vampires should. They even invented a Matrix like storage system for sucking the blood out of humans and sell it in coffee and wine or whatever they mix it with. This only lasts for awhile because somehow everyone is turned and the lucky few survivors are hunted down while a blood substitute is being researched.
The substitute is only a stop gap to the problem. The vampires like being vampires and want to keep eating humans while the vegan vampires and surviving humans want cures and to return to the mortal world. They never explain many of the down sides of being a vampire, which makes it difficult to understand why they would want to switch. It is never clear if the vampirism is caused by a biological or magical nature.
The outbreak seemed recent and nearly instant, so that would mean no vampires running around castle in ye old England. The vampires didn’t appear to have great strength or super speed or flying powers. Garlic and food in general didn’t seem to be an issue (they could still eat/drink normal food) and nobody bothered with crosses as weapons. Stakes made them explode instantly, and they didn’t see their reflections in mirrors. They had no heart beats, but didn’t appear to heal magically when wounded (some vampires are seen with bruises/scars/stitches for shorts) but did have some healing powers. So they went back and forth, picking and choosing what happens to vampires with no clear answers.
A lot of thought went into this world, and really nailed the way things would be if vampires ruled the world. Sadly, not much else thought was put into this movie. After the movie blows its load on the wonderfully twisted Outer Limits like setting, it switches gears into a corn ball action movie. Which while highly entertaining, for the first time in my moving watching career made me wish they would focus more on the cool setup and quit distracting me with boobs, bloody explosions and cool catchphrases. I wanted more time with the amazing details of this world they started to lay out but never got it.
The movie is boiled down to a fun action movie, a well done vampire flick with plenty of cool things to see, hear and watch explode. If you just forget the setting, don’t care about the ignored details and don’t mind plot twists you could see coming from a mile away, the movie turns out to be fun.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we don’t see the death of this wonderful notion of dealing realistically with unrealistic settings. District 9 was a great kick off to this, but I hope others can keep running with it. I would like a little more thought going into my mindless action movies or no thoughts at all.Last 5 posts by Brian Jones
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