Films & Schedules
  • Daybreakers

  • Michael Spierig

  • Peter Spierig

Country: Australia/USA
98 minutes


The twin-brother team of Michael and Peter Spierig had the privilege of directing the last film to flicker on the grand screen of Toronto's late, lamented Uptown Theatre. Their debut film, Undead, was a hit when it played that solemn occasion for Midnight Madness 2003 (what more fitting way to say goodbye than with rampaging zombies from down under?), and we are honoured to have them back with their second film, Daybreakers.

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed the majority of the world's population into vampires. These vamps aren't romanticized gothic heartthrobs who sulk in the dusk, but omnipotent overlords, ruling the earth's economy and social strata with an iron fist. Humankind teeters on the brink of extinction, in danger of being either turned into vampires or captured and farmed for its precious blood, sold at premium prices. Without a steady diet of fresh human blood, starved vampires feed on one another and regress into terrifying feral beasts. As demand outstrips the supply of plasma, attempts to find a substitute before time runs out have been failures. If humanity dies from the vampires' bloodlust, the dominant race will become savage animals.

The story comes to life with the help of a strong cast, including Ethan Hawke as a conflicted vampire and researcher racing against the clock to develop the blood replacement, Sam Neill as a capitalistic blood baron and Willem Dafoe as Elvis, the crossbow-toting rogue leader of a band of survivors.

The Spierigs have succeeded in creating an utterly credible sci-fi horror environment and tone of panic. It's a cold neo-noir world painted in shades of grey with broad splatters of crimson, where vampire politicians debate on television about the blood problem, a high-tech army in sun-shielded SUVs hunts humans, and fanged civilians riot in the streets for blood. As one of Daybreakers' vamps laments, “Life's a bitch – and then you don't die.”

Colin Geddes

Michael and Peter Spierig were born in Germany and grew up in Brisbane, Australia. Both graduated from Queensland College of Art, Peter with a degree in film and television, Michael with a degree in graphic design. They have jointly directed dozens of television commercials and more than fifteen short films, including The Garden (97) and The Big Picture (00). Their features are Undead (02) and Daybreakers (09).

Cadillac People's Choice Award