Author, and now screenwriter, Seth Grahame-Smith, is well-known for his odd mashups of horror with classical tales such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the newly released Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is no different.
The movie does stay true to certain aspects of our 16th president’s life—excluding the killing of fictitious creatures—and history buffs won’t cringe as the historical facts of Lincoln are still intact.
Benjamin Walker manages to play a very solemn president as he tries to avenge the death of his mother, which was caused by none other than a vampire, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). The film revolves around Lincoln’s secret diary that includes his political and supernatural encounters. Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) trains the president and teaches him the ways of a vampire hunter as well as showing off some impressive axe wielding. As Lincoln becomes skilled in the art of slaying, he becomes an abolitionist when he learns that slaves are being used as a source of food in the South by vampires. Thus, the Civil War begins.
This movie takes itself extremely seriously and makes it difficult for the audience to engage in the movie as it isn’t scary enough to be a horror film, and its serious ambiance won’t let you get a laugh in either. The fight scenes, however, are well-choreographed and may be the high point of this film.
It seems director Timur Bekmambetov is trying so hard to create a horror flick that he forgets to allow a pause between the vampire killings in order to connect with the characters and make them well-rounded instead of one-dimensional. The emotional factor is missing in this movie, disallowing the audience a reason to care about Lincoln or any of his comrades.
There are some impressive visual effects that will catch the audience’s eye, but the makeup and wigs for some of the characters were unrealistic, and simply tragic. If you can manage to take this movie’s plot seriously, and you don’t mind the lack of character development, then head to theaters to watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to get your fix of some presidential vampire slaying.