What a wacky notion, right? Abraham Lincoln was secretly a vampire killer? Seems kind of preposterous. And yet, when you think about it, maybe it’s kinda cool. I mean, someone thought to write a novel first, so clearly certain people thought it was worth the time. And as it turns out, the author, Seth Graham-Smith, first wrote the best-selling novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”.
What a wacky notion, right? Abraham Lincoln was secretly a vampire killer? Seems kind of preposterous. And yet, when you think about it, maybe it’s kinda cool. I mean, someone thought to write a novel first, so clearly certain people thought it was worth the time. And as it turns out, the author, Seth Graham-Smith, first wrote the best-selling “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. And thankfully, he also wrote the screenplay to this film. It’s nice to get a script form the original author. If it goes awry, you know who to look at first.
In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of United States, not only abolished slavery, but also discovers that vampires not only exist, but are planning to take over the United States by force. Lincoln makes it his mission to defeat them.
Now even though It’s sometimes good to have your orignal author penning your script, I must admit I was given pause when I found out he also wrote Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Far as I’m concerned, he’s a guy with one mediocre script, and now this. Thankfully thought, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is pretty fun. Much of what I like about it is that the writer manages to incorporate the vampires so well into the real history of Lincoln and the United States. But then, that’s what this guy does: mash-ups of history/classic literature with undead creatures. And he dones a fine job of it here.
This film is a little like a history lesson, too. Well, you know, sort of. But it really is interesting and cool how he incorporates Lincoln’s life as we know it historically with his “secret” life as a vampire hunter. His mother’s death from illness, his political life, his son’s death, and yes, especially the Civil War. Believe it or not, there are some funny moments in this, and surely lots of cool action, and scary vampires galore. And it’s all fitting rather nicely in the historical context that no one ever taught us in school. They probably should have. It would have made school way more fun. Who’s going to complain about learning how the North battled the blood-sucking undead Southern army at Gettysburg? I think we’re onto something here.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is driected by Timur Bekmambetov, who brought us the visually breath-taking but rather convoluted Night Watch and Day Watch films, along with the visually cool but impossible, Wanted. Most of Lincoln seems to be shot more conventionally, with the exception of the action sequences. These definitely have Bekmambetov’s signature slow motion style. Despite feeling slightly incongruous stylistically to the rest of the film, I don’t mind that at all. These scenes are cool and defintiely unlike any you’ve likely seen before. They have a certain intensity all their own. And they are uniquely memorable. You do, however, have to suspend your disbelief a bit at these points. Well, not that you don’t for the whole movie, but in this context, the physics of the rest of the film are kind of believable, and then you have these pretty extreme moments where you have to just go with what you’re seeing. But then, I didn’t really care. The action is cool and it’s a summer movie that offers something different than the usual vampire nonsense. Nobody sparkles. Nobody.
There is some use of CG and it’s actually pretty decent. One of the previosuly mentioned action scenes involves a large stampede of horses that is completely absurd but undeniably fun to watch. The vampires faces have some CG work but the cuts are quick enough that you get just enough of their crazy toothy mouths to be threatening before you can start whining about them being CG.
The acting is great all around, Benjamin Walker making a fine Lincoln. Rufus Sewell is a fine antagonist vampire named conveniently named Adam, obviously vampire zero. But he has fun and is appropriately villanous. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays a strong Mary Todd, and Dominic Cooper plays Linconl’s mentor/friend Henry Sturgess. Everyone plays it straight, taking it all serious. Which is probably the only way to make us buy it.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is actually a lot of fun, and includes some interesting, if not skewed, history to boot. There is a lot of suspension of disbelief especially in the finale action sequence involving battling a lot of vampires on a train and other complications , but if you can let go, it’s a fun ride. I’d say it’s one of the summers more entertaining films. And this summer, that’s a needed commodity. Easy three and a half kittenhands. Oh, and no I didn’t see it in 3D. Fuck 3D.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, more entertained by this than I thought I would.