• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Daybreakers

TITLE: Daybreakers

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Horror and Drama

January is a unique time in the fact that this is when Hollywood turns the multiplexes into its proverbial dumping grounds for less desirable products. Since January is a slow time at the theaters plus the last minute Academy Awards race for nominations is over, the beginning of the year is when the studios release films that are either troubled projects or end products that they know would never sell during more competitive times. However, it is also a time when Hollywood studios will release titles that are licensed products from other countries or independent studios that are narrow risks for the studios preparing for those anchor summer releases. Daybreakers is an Australian film that saw its release during this dumping time and is a pleasant surprise that delivers some quality acting, strong storyline, and surprisingly good production values.

It is the year 2019 and the world’s population is almost exclusively vampires. In a need to feed, the vampire population has hunted the human race to near extinction and the supply of human blood for the vampires is becoming scarce. Hematologist Edward Dalton (played by Ethan Hawke) is attempting to create a synthetic substitute for human blood but has failed repeatedly. Dalton works for corporate tycoon-type Charles Bromley (Sam Neill) who is making millions off of the bloodlust and wants to balance the demand for the potential cheaper synthetic blood and the expensive real thing. Dalton finds Elvis Cormac (Willem Dafoe) who has discovered a way to cure himself from vampirism and turn himself back into human form, and Dalton wants to spread the cure of the vampirism to the masses. However Bromley will have no part of the potential cure because it would cut into his profits, but the society around them is falling apart as the blood supply is nearly gone.

Most horror and fantasy films released in the early part of the year are sub-par garbage, but Daybreakers has a good amount of redeeming qualities. The main aspect for this reviewer would be the correlations that are alluded to with the shortage of blood and today’s current shortages of either food or oil as either analogy would work well with continually rising costs, shortages, rationing, and blood not being available to Third World countries are all brought up as part of the solutions to the problem. The culture here is amazingly similar to our own including news broadcasts, advertising geared to the blood suckers, and even a vampire version of Starbucks complete with a 1950’s female soda jerk-type character are included which was an excellent touch to make the themes even more real. The acting in Daybreakers is also excellent: Hawke is his usual intense self and shows that he is one of the more underrated actors of the past twenty years; Neill is excellent as the money grubbing business tycoon who puts profits ahead of culture; and Dafoe is very good as the former vampire with a philosophical mouth and quality one-liners such as “a human in the world of vampires is about as safe as bare backing a five dollar whore.” The special effects are CGI, but are done tastefully and do not interfere with the quality storyline. The directors Michael and Peter Spierig (who only had the independent Undead to their credit before this) is fast paced and interesting, but also makes sure to incorporate the themes of corporate greed and mankind’s consumption to eventual destruction to even out the action and numerous fight scenes.

The Spierig Brothers have been given the helm to the sequel to the 1980’s classic The Dark Crystal so it will be interesting to see how well they move over to the Hollywood machine. In the meantime, Daybreakers is well worth a viewing for fans of more intelligent horror films and are willing to actually learn a thing or two while watching a fair amount of bloodshed. Daybreakers was a pleasant surprise and a quality horror entry. It may not be the bloodiest or scariest horror film of the past couple years, but it might be the most intelligent.

* * * *

–Mark

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