Who's In It: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill
The Basics: By 2019 we will all be vampires. There'll be a few stubborn ones who insist on remaining human beings, and they'll be hunted for their blood, captured and hooked up to big vein-milking tanks in giant pharma warehouses. But just like our current oil depletion scenario, these vampires will face a blood shortage from over-leeching their prey. Nice-guy vampire hematologist Ethan Hawke, busy working on a synthetic blood substitute that proves useless, crosses paths with some rogue humans who seem like they might have a cure for vampirism and he joins up with them on a quest to change everybody from cruel, immortal bloodsuckers back into the cruel, mortal bloodsuckers they used to be.
What's The Deal: Until watching this movie I thought I was fed up with vampires. But now I realize that all I was fed up with are all the sexy, conflicted, breathless, romantic, sardonic vampires running around popular culture at the moment. These neo-vampires refuse to take responsibility for providing evil, amoral brutality, sadism and super-gore and should, frankly, be fired from their jobs as vampires. The straight-up monsters in this movie, however, are fully committed to slow-motion blood orgies and devouring anyone who gets in the way of their need for red drink. I welcome their arrival.
Bonus Points For: Rising above standard operating vampire procedure with a nightmarish Soylent Green-style future where eating the people is a given, and balancing nicely between action thriller momentum and feel-sorry-for-Ethan-Hawke moments. There's also a strangely moving vampire father/human daughter plotline, plenty of fun gross-out deaths, clever details, disturbing (and shriekingly loud) mutant vampires called "Subsiders," and a freaky Willem Dafoe as a former vampire with a crossbow and all the funny dialogue.
For Example: "Being human in a world of vampires is about as safe as barebacking a five-dollar whore." Lines like that, delivered with just the right amount of seriousness and understanding of the kind of film this is, are one of the reasons we're lucky to have Willem Dafoe around. (See Also: the not-funny-at-all Antichrist)
Names To Remember: It's pretty clear that directors The Spierig Brothers are ready to make their mark as a couple of high-end horror genre auteurs. Their last movie, 2003's Undead, was equally fun and gory and, though their approach can be funny, they're not out to make self-aware parodies. I'm into seeing where they go next.