I can say that this vampire, action flick is better than the Twilight movies. One reason is because it advances the vampire mythology that we've come to know. Instead of vampires being unknown creatures kept secret or hidden, vampires are out in the open, representing the majority of the population, and in fact rule the world.
Vampires are TV reporters and cops. They work in retail like coffee shops. They ride the bus or train to work. They talk on cell phones. They dress in nice suits. They're everywhere.
Continuing the Twilight comparisons though, Ethan Hawke is the Edward Cullen of the bunch. He embodies every white, handsome, brooding yet sensitive vampire ever depicted since Brad Pitt in Interview With a Vampire. He's a bloodsucker who doesn't want to hurt humans.
If you're wondering in the Twilight parallel who the Bella of this movie is, look no farther than Claudia Karvan who plays Audrey, the human who falls for Hawke's Edward Dalten. Except, this isn't a love story. It's an action thriller. So, Karvan is less Kristin Stewart and more Linda Hamilton a la Terminator 2.
The problem is that vampires can only live on human blood. Other animals' blood will do, but human blood is what keeps the vampires healthy. Without it, they'll deform and die. With the extinction of humans at hand, vampires have to face their own extinction.
Dalten is a vampire scientist, a hematologist in the year 2019, trying to find a substitute for human blood to save the vampire race. It's an interesting and clever dilemma. It doesn't present the typical vampire or monster-movie dynamics.
Michael and Peter Spierig direct the film with enough adrenaline, blood and gore to keep vampire enthusiasts entertained. One criticism lies in the Spierig brothers' under-utilization of Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man and Platoon) who plays Elvis, the vampire with a heartbeat. His character is fascinating but short-changed. You don't really get enough of him.
The Spierig brothers do give Dafoe a pretty cool, car chase scene. He also gets a spectacular and separate car crash, but that's about all you're going to get. The filmmakers perhaps overdo it with the decapitations, but this innovative story of starving vampires who end up needing the sun more than they know is a fun, feeding frenzy.
Four Stars out of Five
Rated R for strong blood violence, language and brief nudity
Running Time: 1 hr. and 38 mins.