This movie is an allegory for whatever you want it to be an allegory for.
In a near future dystopia, a plague has transformed most of the population into vampires. The few remaining humans are fugitives or kept as livestock to sustain members of the upper-vamp class who can afford to purchase their expensive and rare blood. In this way, the movie is an allegory for imbalance of wealth and resources.
The movie follows Ethan Hawke, a self-loathing vampire scientist (who sometimes dresses like a fucking Quaker) who is working on a synthetic blood to be sold to the vamps of the world who, if they don’t feed regularly, devolve into vicious Nosferatu bat-things who attack vamps/humans alike similar to the Reapers from Blade 2. There is all sorts of allegorical stuff on class warfare and societal collapse here, so if that’s your thing, eat it up.
Sam Neill plays a malevolent vampire CEO whose every action is motivated by profit. He is trying to monetize Ethan Hawke’s research and the human blood of the world. He is an undead poster-child for capitalist greed. Every second of his screen time is a thinly veiled indictment of capitalism and Big Pharma. Another symbolic facet to the movie.
Dafoe is the hero of the movie, but not because he slays vampires. He is the hero because he disrupts corporate profits and he figures out how to redistribute resources. Allegorically, he is a socialist with a crossbow, I guess.
There is a lot going on here, so any unified “message” of the film sort of drowns in the movie’s ambition. Weirdly, this is admirable. I don’t have much to say here, I guess. The movie reminds me of all the diseases trying to infect Mr. Burns at once: there is so much shit cluttering the “doorway” of this movie that trying to focus on any one thing is just too distracting.
There is some pretty quality gore and make-up. If you decide to watch this movie, don’t think about it too hard. Just enjoy it.