By Dirk Sonniksen | June 21, 2012
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer(s): Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay & novel)
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper
If one were to give you the title “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and ask you to craft a story around that title, do you think you could manage? I think you could, assuming you had fairly adequate cognitive abilities. The conversation would go something like this:
Guy with the Title: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…and…go!”
You: “He was the 16th President of the United States…”
You: “He freed the slaves!”
GWTT: “Very good. Very important moment in history!”
You: “Uh, he…was traumatized as a child by vampires, and now he wants to kill all of them?”
GWTT: “Now you’re cooking with gas!”
You: “He has a silver-tipped ax that he uses to slash vampires and blood squirts everywhere!”
GWTT: “Oh God, yes! You’re hired!”
Something like that. Now that we dispensed with the synopsis, let’s move on.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a great history lesson for those of you who were sleeping in class, and although it contains some truths, there is a fair amount of historical revisionism. It’s also not a great movie. Here’s why, and I’ve started with the bad, just for fun, but we will work our way to the good.
The Bad: The story is predictable. I’d heard that the book by Seth Grahame-Smith was fun, and that very same Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the screenplay for this film. Unfortunately, the fun in the book did not translate to the screen. As mentioned above, it does not take long to figure out what is behind every corner, and I got most of my guesses correct when I viewed this film. The story of Abe Lincoln was quickly overtaken by video game-style gore in the form of vampire heads being swished off, exploding, and shooting dark, gooey vampire blood through the air in copious amounts. I’m assuming the film was in 3D to enhance this visual for me. It did not.
The Good: Benjamin Walker was a very convincing Abraham Lincoln. He was tall (or possibly the other actors were quite short), he was…honest, and he aged quite nicely into the Abraham Lincoln everyone envisions today. Mary Elizabeth Winstead played a good Abe’s wife, although she did not age as well, and it looked completely fake.
…That’s all the good.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is so predictable, so formulaic, and just really poorly realized for the medium of film. It’s a shame because it is rather an interesting take on history (and fantasy), and in capable hands, this might have been a really creepy, dark, scary film. Instead it is just a complete waste of time and money.