“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” throws a crimson stain on American history, but for a movie about vampires “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” has very little bite. You have to expect a movie about a president offing vampires to be silly, and this movie is, but you also hope it will have some scares, and those are as rare as beard trimmer in Lincoln’s travel kit.
The story of Abraham Lincoln’s bloodsucker battles begins in 1818 when his mother is killed by a vengeful vampire. His hatred of his mother’s killer grows for years, but when he finally has the chance to even the score, he is bitten by the urge to hunt vampires. Teaming up with a Van Helsing-esque warrior named Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), he uses a silver tipped axe to make sure America remains “a nation of men and not monsters.”
There are a couple of big action set pieces and bloodsuckers get killed by the dozen, but the over reliance on computer generated effects reduces the vampire battles–and that’s what we’re paying to see!– to a bloody synthetic spray of binary code, and little more.
This isn’t a history lesson, it’s a movie about killing vampires in slow motion and on that level it only works in the film’s OTT action sequences. Give me more of Honest Abe jumping from horse to horse during a stampede, and less of everything else. Although, having said that, I have to have a soft spot for a movie that wraps up (MILD SPOILER) with Mary Todd Lincoln (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) saying, “Abraham! Hurry, we’re late for the theatre!”
The vampires do have cool shark fangs, there’s an unexpected horse-drawn-carriage rescue and the head vamp is 5000 years old, but there’s no real atmosphere to go along with the flowery language and petticoats. It’s neither historical or horror. It’s not fish, but it is occasionally foul. The acting ranges from good–Benjamin Walker beards-up nicely as the elder Abe–to the bland–Anthony Mackie as Will, Abe’s forgettable friend–to the bad–Rufus Sewell as the “first vampire” Adam is not nearly megalomaniacal enough–and everyone seems to be struggling to find the right tone to tell the story.
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” director Timur Bekmambetov knows his way around an action scene but despite the gallons of gore on display has made a bloodless vampire movie. Abe would hate it, honestly.
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