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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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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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