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The Darkseekers, also called Hemocytes or the Infected, are savage infected vampire-like creatures that serve as the main antagonists of the 2007 film adaptation of I Am Legend. Once ordinary human beings, they were transformed into a monsters by genetically re-engineered measles virus originally designed to cure cancer.

History

In 2009, a genetically re-engineered measles virus, originally created as a cure for cancer, turns lethal. The virus mutates into a highly contagious strain, killing 90% (5.4 billion out of six billion) of the world's population and turns 9.8% (five-hundred and eight-eight million) into vampiric albino zombie-like cannibalistic mutants called Darkseekers, who are extremely vulnerable to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. The remaining 0.2% (twelve million) of the surviving population are immune to the virus and are the prey of the mutant Darkseekers.

Over the course of a few months, humanity was driven to the brink of extinction. A small cluster of survivors had established a colony in Alaska free of the infection, leaving almost no one left in the ravaged cities. However, one survivor, a scientist known as Robert Neville, remained in the desolate city of New York and had fortified his home to protect himself while he researched a cure for the virus. Turning his basement into a laboratory, he experimented on small infected animals such as rats and later moved on to testing on a human Darkseeker he managed to capture.

Little did Neville suspect that the Darkseekers were not as mindless as they seemed; the creatures had developed a pack or tribal social system and were aware that Neville was watching them, but they in turn were watching him as well. One night, a tribe of Darkseekers were able to breach the defences of Neville's house and they captured him. They tied him to a lamp post and left him there for a full day before coming out at sunset to kill him. Neville managed to escape with the aid of his pet dog Sam, but as they made their getaway, the Darkseekers released a pair of their own dogs which pursued them. Sam was bitten by one of the Darkseeker hounds and infected with the virus, forcing Neville to kill Sam before he turned completely.

Robert then went on a self-destructive rampage to kill himself and as many Darkseekers he could. Running several of the infected down with his vehicle before it was flipped over, his life was saved by the arrival of two other immune survivors; Anna and Ethan, both looking to make it to a survivors colony at a higher altitude where the virus couldn’t reach.

Later that night, it was discovered that the Darkseeker tribe from the previous night had followed them back to Robert’s house, and now an all out war had started. Overwhelming them in numbers, the creatures broke into Robert’s house, forcing the three into his basement where, just at the last second, Robert realized the cure was in the blood of his last test subject.

Getting a sample of it and giving it to Anna, he pushed the two into a secret hiding spot and readied himself to die. Pulling out a grenade, he pulled the pin and rushed the creatures just as the leader broke the glass separating the two. The grenade exploded, destroying the many monsters inside. The next morning, Anna and Ethan emerged and once again started their voyage, and soon ending it when delivering the cure to the colony.

In an alternate ending, the Alpha Male retained some parts of his humanity, where he instead listens to Neville and shows that he came to rescue his captured mate by making the shape of a butterfly, a tatoo the female Darkseeker has. Neville understands and gives her back, the Alpha picking her up and nuzzling her with joy. He then starts roaring in anger at the sight of all the photos showing other Darkseekers killed by Neville's experiments. Filled with shame, Neville states he is sorry, the Alpha acknowledging this before leaving peacefully.

Trivia

  • The film is based on the 1954 Richard Matheson novel of the same name, the monsters are Vampires who were killed and reanimated by a manmade plague.
  • The similarities between the monsters in the novel and in the film is that they both only come out at night to hunt and they both feed on blood.
  • Originally the Darkseekers were supposed to be intelligent and caring creatures such as found with the alternate ending of I Am Legend where the female is rescued by the Alpha Darkseeker. There are even hints of this in the movie as Neville got caught in a trap that was originally going to be passed off as Darkseekers' handiwork but this was evidently scrapped.

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See Also
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