The summer movie season can be home to plenty of whimsical, often ridiculous premises for movies. We’ve seen movies based on comic books, toy lines, and most recently, board games. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” continues the trend with one of the most laughable titles I’ve ever read, let alone the absurd premise of the film that pits our 16th president against a horde of blood-sucking night dwellers in an alternate-history romp. That being said, I was just as surprised leaving the theater Friday afternoon as I was when I first heard that the movie itself was being made, but for an entirely different reason. My surprise came from the fact that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was actually a great, entertaining movie. I was honestly at a loss for words at how much I liked this movie, and even more surprising was the fact that there were several elements from the movie to point to. One is the film’s deadly serious tone. They take the concept of Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires and instead of making a winking self-parody they revel in how cool that idea sounds to almost every teenage boy in America, cranking up the violence and gore, self-indulgent slow motion shots and more than a dozen historical inaccuracies that would make a fifth grade social studies student blush. No one in the film ever winks at the camera or takes the time to stop and wonder how silly it is for this lawyer from Illinois to be hunting vampires, there’s hardly any time with all the gratuitous vampire slaying going on. Also worth thanking is director/Zack-Snyder-prodigy Timur Bekmambetov, who’s previous work on movies like “Wanted” really proves itself to be more than handy. Timur keeps the pace tight and buoyant enough so that you never even have the chance to question how bizarre everything is, and much like “Wanted” he choreographs his action much like a video game cut scene, giving you a consistently great view of what’s going on and out-doing itself with larger scale and more outlandish set pieces in every new sequence. As I said earlier, Timur’s also clearly a fan of the slow motion, but it never gets too redundant, every time it makes an appearance it does a great job of giving you time to take in what all’s going on while simultaneously reminding you the scene you’re currently watching is as cool as you thought it might be. If there’s any real glaring flaw in the film, it is Seth Grahame-Smith’s script. Smith wrote the worst movie I’ve seen so far this summer, Dark Shadows, and just his name on this movie’s credit made me cringe. His script isn’t downright terrible, but the trademark thinness and clunkiness in his writing becomes more prevalent in the last half. On great display here is the solid cast. Rufus Sewell plays it up just sinister and dastardly enough as the lead vampire scum, Dominic Cooper gets some of the best moments in the movie as Lincoln’s vampire mentor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, or Ramona Flowers as I’ll be forever calling her thanks to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, commits a really great, hilarious performance as Mary Todd that brings a lot of unexpected life to a few of the duller scenes. What would you know, even the world-famous “I know I’ve seen that guy before” actor, Alan Tudyk pops up as one of the rival politicians in the first act of the movie. It’s Benjamin Walker though as our titular vampire hunter/president that’s been getting a lot of the praise from film critics all around the circle. Walker does an incredible job in the film, especially in the movie’s last 30 minutes (aka it’s best 30 minutes) when (real life spoiler alert) he actually becomes president and gains the trademark beard/stovepipe hat. I thought his work in the first 2/3 of the film was strong but unremarkable, but it’s really that transformation that occurs where you can’t even recognize Walker anymore that really pushes the movie into “great” territory. All in all, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter may be a stupid movie, but it’s a WELL-MADE stupid movie, and that makes all the difference (studios take note next time you’re making a board game movie no one asked for). A handful of outstanding action set pieces, a terrific cast that bring some serious life to the proceedings, and a story that delights in deadly-serious fun make “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” one of the best surprises of the summer.
** out of **** Honest Abe himself tells us early on in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" that one very significant portion of his life will not be remembered throughout American history. The premise for the film is that he lived a double life as a slayer of vamps; a side-job that started at an early age when his mother's life was taken by one named Jack Barts. This was mere inspiration. Lincoln did not learn that you could properly dispose of vampires for good until he tried … more
When I review a film, comic book or a book, I usually try to find a way to relate to the material to find a common point as to find the things I usually look for in its story. I really wasn’t certain how I was going to approach “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” since it is a fantasy action horror movie that is based on the mashup novel with the same name. I am at a slight disadvantage since I haven’t read the novel as of yet (then again it may be a good idea to see a movie … more
Near the end of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, there is a scene that explains for me the ultimate message of Abraham Lincoln: offered the tainted immortality of vampirism to use to fight for good for eternity, Lincoln deflects the suggestion with his legendary wisdom and humor without giving a second thought to the offer. For those who may be horrified by a generation of young people learning about Lincoln from this movie (and the mashup fiction that it is based on), I would offer the … more
ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER Abraham Lincoln, what can be said about this man that hasn't already been said before? Wait I know, he has battled Vampires and Zombies for most of his life, its fact. I guess you dear reader had no idea about that did you? No you didn't, because it is one of the many government cover ups that are out there. Why did they never tell you about this? Well almost all of you … more
The Blu-Ray is excellent coming with all kinds of special features. My favorite being the making of which goes into great detail about everything involving the film. Then of course the commentary by the writer is very interesting. There is much more that only make this release a must have for film buffs who enjoy the behind the scenes stuff.
When young Abraham Lincoln angers a man (who happens to a vampire), the man takes his revenge by killing the boy's mother. Lincoln then dedicates his life to finding vampires and killing them with his silver-tipped ax. I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it's horrifically gory at times, but the clever mix of fantasy and true events is very well done and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. We follow Lincoln from store clerk to the White House. … more
Star Rating: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Don’t you just love a title that plainly spells it all out for you? Say it to yourself, and you’re instantly reminded of the sci-fi/horror B-movies that sounded as if they were christened before an actual screenplay was written, like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman or Creature from the Black Lagoon or Attack of the Crab Monsters. It matters not that the film plays fast and loose with American history. If … more
By Joan Alperin Schwartz Most of the time, when you see a film, after you've read the book, you feel let down. The movie usually pales in comparison to the novel. I am happy to report this isn't the case with 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' The film, shot in 3D and directed by Timur Bekmambetov (I've never heard of him either) is entertaining, exciting, clever and total … more
Nothing so intrinsically silly ought be presented in as humorless a manner as that of Timor Bekmambetov's latest waste of film, an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's amusing revisionist novel. Scarcely any of the author's droll wit is preserved in transition; this movie is exciting as an extravaganza of stylized combat, yet divested of its source material's facetious character, ultimately nothing more than inadvertently vacuous. At present, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a rarity among … more