Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a bizarre fantasy horror that mashes reality with the absurd. Directed by Timur Bekambetov (vampire franchise Night Watch and Day Watch) and produced by Tim Burton, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an alternative history that sees the American Civil War played out between humans and vampires. When the young Abraham Lincoln sees his mother murdered, he becomes determined to avenge her death. Trained in the art of vampire hunting by a seasoned vampire killer, Lincoln sets about his revenge. Now President, he discovers slaves are being turned into vampire food and declares war.
Brought to us from writer Seth Grahame-Smith, the best selling author of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an absurd but exciting romp through the private life of America’s much loved President. It plays fast and loose with historical fact, which some might find distasteful, but its emphasis is clearly on entertainment and it tries to be as daring as possible.
Where Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter misses the mark is in a script full of cheesy but profound lines that are delivered much too straight – ‘real power comes not from hate, but from truth’, ‘we’re all slaves to something’. Some scenes also appear stilted, unsure of how comic to be. But there are some good performances from the cast. Dominic Cooper, as the plucky British vampire hunter, is bold and charismatic, calling Lincoln ‘Abe’ with cheeky affection from their very first encounter.
See it for its slow motion 3D blood splatters
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a film that is heavily driven by action and it does this well. The next 3D slow motion blood splatters, splinters and axe stunts are never very far away. Battles are often whacky and far fetched – one takes place amidst a herd of stampeding horses – but they are exciting and fun. Each battle tries to be more outrageous than the previous one and, as it is packed with vampire hunting from the very beginning, this results in an extremely ambitious final battle. Despite this, it’s easy to tire from the innumerable times Lincoln drops his axe, grabbing it again at the last possible moment.
As for the vampires, they could be much scarier than the are. There’s a mystery about them at the beginning of the film and a dark serial killer quality. But community figures with underground bleeding chambers below their homes are all too quickly replaced by mad power hungry vampire gangs who instead offer a wild west feel.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter might be absurd but it’s definitely entertaining. It’s not nearly as comic as it could be though, and is sometimes played a little too straight. See it for its grand action sequences, 3D blood splatters and imaginative re-telling of American history.
Verdict: ✪ ✪ ✪
For more information please see the official website