I love monster movies and I love historical period pieces. However, I was pretty skeptical about a marriage of the two….
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based on the novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who single-handedly created a new genre of literature with the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back in 2009.
This time around, vampires have invaded the pre-Civil War South and our 16th President is forced to take the country to war in order to save the Union. Many historical facts are included, although admittedly embellished for dramatic effect.
Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) bravely brings the elements of the book to life (well, at least undeath). The movie has an old-timey feel, much like Sleepy Hollow, which is appropriate considering the movie is co-produced by Tim Burton (in spite of the fact that Johnny Depp is no where to be seen). That a movie could simultaneously have a graphic novel feel, harkens back to the double feature horror movies of the 50′s and be in 3-D is quite a feat, but Bekmambetov pulls it off pretty spectacularly.
Benjamin Walker (Flags of our Fathers, Kinsey) is Abe Lincoln. For a relative unknown, Walker is quite effective. He bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Liam Neeson. Mary Todd is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She drove me crazy the whole movie trying to remember where I had seen her before. When I was finally able to be reunited with my iphone, I imdb-ed her and realized that failed to recognize her because she was missing her purple hair from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) is Will Johnson, Lincoln’s life long friend and his inspiration for fighting against slavery and vampires in the first place. Dominic Cooper (Captain America, the First Avenger) is Henry, a mentor of sorts to Lincoln as he learns to be a vampire slayer.
The plot is fantastical, straining the bounds of believability. (But you probably could have guessed that from the title, right? )
I continued to question the point of collaborating Lincoln and vampires for the first part of the movie. But, right around the moment that Lincoln discovers his potential as a vampire hunter *and* a political figure, I just sort’ve accepted it. And when I did, I enjoyed it…alot.
There will be those that are completely irritated that Hollywood has taken the history of a real life hero, Abraham Lincoln, and desecrated his legacy with such drivel. I would gently suggest that the movie is not for them. If you can put aside all historical facts and just go along for the ride, it’s actually pretty freaking fun. There are some girl-power and racial empowering elements that made me wish they actually did happen in real life…(I know how that sounds, but I kinda lost myself in it, to be honest….)
The movie is rated a strong R for graphic violence, partial nudity and some sexuality. Definitely for older teens.
Because it was so much better than I expected and because it is the time of the year for larger than life, thrill packed movies, I give Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 3 1/2 silver plated axes…