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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Daybreakers

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

A scrupulous vampire who eschews human blood for the less satisfying animal alternative? No, it's not Edward Cullen of the "Twilight" franchise; it's undead hematology researcher Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), hero of the potentially intriguing, but excessively violent, "Daybreakers" (Lionsgate).

Set in a futuristic world where a mysterious plague has transformed the vast majority of the population into blood-suckers, this latest addition to the hoary horror genre revolves around the global emergency provoked when the few remaining mortals can no longer supply the necessary nutriment to sustain their innumerable predators.

Sponsored by a conglomerate that harvests blood from comatose human captives—a sort of macabre version of Archer Daniels Midland—Edward is searching frantically for a viable alternative.

But, as food riots break out and starving "normal" vampires become maddened mutants undermining public safety, people-friendly Edward—already troubled by the ends-justify-the-means nature of his work—discovers that his corporation's CEO, Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), is more concerned about maintaining market share than preserving an endangered species, even one to which he himself once belonged.

An accidental encounter with a group of human fugitives led by Audrey Bennettt (Claudia Karvan) introduces Edward to an underground world of resistance fighters and to the mysterious figure of Lionel "Elvis" Cormac (Willem Dafoe), a unique being who may have unwittingly discovered an alternative—and far more sweeping—solution to the crisis.

Co-writers and directors Peter and Michael Spierig effectively conjure a society where everyday Draculas are the norm—subway stations are packed with nocturnal, fanged commuters, cafes dispense coffee flavored with blood and, being immortal, everyone smokes—and they use this environment to make satiric points about the dangers of corporate excess and environmental irresponsibility.

But the intermittently gory proceedings, which feature needlessly realistic splatter throughout, move toward a climactic scene of orgiastic bloodletting.

The film contains graphic gruesome violence, including decapitation, dismemberment and exploding bodies; upper female nudity; at least three uses of profanity; and some rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

******
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 


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James Oldo: You’ve heard rags-to-riches stories. Today, we celebrate the reverse. 
<p>James of Oldo was born into a well-to-do family near Milan in 1364. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague, James determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in heaven and to build God’s realm on earth. </p><p>He and his wife became Secular Franciscans. James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of his wife, James himself became a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisoners of war. He died in 1404 after contracting a disease from one of his patients. </p><p>James Oldo was beatified in 1933.</p> American Catholic Blog Even when skies are grey and clouds heavy with tears, the sun rises. So to with our souls, burdened by life’s sins and still He rises.

 
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