Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin, And be washed in the blood of the Lamb; There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean, O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!
Elisha A. Hoffman, 1878
Blood is the life force of humanity. It flows through ours veins and fuels our bodies. Without it, we cease to exist. It is precious and protected. The sight of even a small amount of it leaving our bodies is a warning.
I suppose that's why vampires have been frightening for so long. They threaten our lives at the most basic level. They come under the cover of darkness and take the simple thing that keeps us alive. Throughout history, vampires have been a mysterious part of our culture. They are usually depicted as a small group that remains hidden from the outside world, lurking in the shadows and hiding from the light.
But what if being a vampire was normal? What if we were given the chance to shed the fear of death and live forever?
Daybreakers presents a unique version of vampirism that exists in such a reality. No one ages, no one gets sick, and no one dies. However, their current lifestyle is in jeopardy as the human population has grown dangerously short. Humans are desperately seeking safety, and starving vampires are devolving into aggressive, bat-like creatures due to the lack of blood supply.
In the midst of this bleak situation, a small group of vigilantes are fighting to preserve humanity and restore hope. It's a familiar group. We've seen them time and time again in literature, in movies, and even in religion. These few are prepared to put everything on line, even their lives, in order to save the world. There are many, many things in this film that parallel the Christian story of redemption and salvation. The more I look, the more I see, and I can't possibly cover it all here. Should you ever want to hear more (because who wouldn't want to hear more about Jesus vampires??) you might have to just watch it with me sometime.
And so I present to you, The Gospel According to Vampires.
We aren't sure what initially caused it, but almost everyone has traded in their fragile humanity for the promise of a future with power and immortality. Initially, the "infection" of vampirism is accepted as a blessing in disguise, as explained by Mr. Bromley who, like the serpent in the Garden, is always whispering little affirmations to those under his influence.
Bromley: We are blessed, Edward, blessed. And you have to stare death in the face to truly know that.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” - Genesis 3:4-5
However, as the blood supply grows shorter, more and more are affected and it's clear that the glorious promise of this immortal life is a lie. Vampires are becoming increasingly greedy, slowing changing into beasts, and feeding off their own flesh in extreme cases. The whole world is falling into chaos, and it's every man for himself. How can they ever go back to the way things were?
Edward Dalton is a scientist looking for a blood substitute. If they can make their own supply, they won't have to hunt humans and there will never be a shortage again. He values human life and is only a vampire because his brother, Frankie (Judas), turned him against his will. Ed sees vampirism differently than others. He sees all the cracks, and the death, and the corrupted nature of his society. He is driven to solve the blood problem, one way or another, and set the world right again. All of his attempts thus far have ended in failure, and he is beginning to lose hope. There must be another way to make it work. And so when he is presented with the opportunity to join up with the human resistance, he takes it.
Elvis (John the Baptist) and Audrey (Mary Magdalene) have been key players in the revolution up to this point. Elvis has experienced life as vampire, but has been transformed back into a human through what could be considered a divine accident. Like Ed, he understands that although their bodies cannot die, the vampires have all but given up their souls. He has fought to preserve humanity so far, and is hopeful that Ed is has the ability to finish what he started.
Elvis: Trees are the oldest living things on earth, did you know that? They say some are over 4,000 years old. Someday though, this tree will die. And so will you. Maybe you won't die of old age like her. But that thing you're holding onto, that last breath of humanity, will vanish as soon as the blood does.
Ed is amazed to hear about Elvis' encounter with the burning sunlight, but is a little hesitant to believe it. However, they are able to recreate this precise exposure to sunlight, and after being baptized in flames Ed is made human again. He walks out into the sunlight after his rebirth with color and life returned to his eyes. He has been brought back from the dead.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased". Matthew 3:16-17
Fire may have been the catalyst, but blood turns out to be the ultimate solution to vampire salvation.
After sneaking back into the city and fleeing from the authorities, Ed and Elvis are eventually cornered by Ed's brother. Frankie has had a bit of a change of heart and would like to help them, but he is physically weak from the blood shortage. When Frankie attacks Elvis and bites his neck, we assume he's going to die. But instead, Frankie is turned back into a human, and Elvis miraculously survives.
Sometime long ago, a perversion of blood caused the vampire race to exist. The shortage of this blood caused them to starve and devolve in beasts. And as it turns out, blood is the simple to save humanity.
Elvis: Vampires think they own this world. That humans have to hide from them. That ain't true. Every day, the sun comes up, and every day the vamps have to hide. Vampires could never survive. That's the truth. Elvis Presley once said, "Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin away".
Up until this point, Ed has been determined but somewhat timid in his mission to change the world. Understandably so. There are starving vampires and military at every turn. As the head of the Bromley-Marks corporation, Mr. Bromley controls the blood supply, and so the fate of both humans and vampires has rested largely in his hands. In order to restore freedom to fallen humanity, Ed must first take it back from him. So after he finally comes to realize the power of his own blood, Ed (Jesus) boldly marches into the Bromley-Marks corporation (Hell) to confront Mr. Bromley (Satan).
After a brief exchange about weakness and the glorious power of vampirism, Bromley ends up biting Ed, thinking it will be the end of him and the whole resistance. Of course, he is mistaken. After returning to mortality, he is torn apart by his own blood thirsty soldiers, and a chain reaction begins. Vampires attack, are transformed, and then spread the cure onto others who bite them. This, by the way, results in a gloriously beautiful scene of madness and carnage.
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day...He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. John 6:52-59
And so, in this world cursed with death, life is restored with blood. What began with a small group is set to rapidly spread to the rest of the vampire/human race. For the first time in a long time humanity has value, and there is hope for a better, brighter future. In the last scene, we see Ed, Elvis and Audrey heading towards the sunrise, prepared to deliver the message (and the blood) that will save the rest of the world.
We have a cure. We can change you back. It's not too late. -Edward Dalton
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
Banner image | Dante and Virgil in Hell, William-Adolphe Bouguereau