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Movie Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter

Starring Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Dominic Cooper 
Directed by Timur Bekmanbetov
Rated R

Fun: something that provides mirth or amusement

I like to have fun.  When I go out with friends, when I attend a sporting event or concert, hell, I like to have fun when I’m writing.  And when I see a movie that tells me the story of Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter, I would assume that one would have fun watching that movie.  But that wasn’t in the cards when I watched Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Oh, no, the movie takes itself quite seriously, so serious in fact that I almost forgot that I was watching a movie about Abraham Lincoln… who kills vampires.  Hey guys, this isn’t the Color F**king Purple, where is your sense of B-movie trashy fun.  Coming from people who gave us Mars Attacks , Wanted and the Hard Times of RJ Berger, I would have thought fun was automatically in the cards…guess again.

So then is this movie a complete disaster?  No it isn’t, in fact I was pleasantly surprised during my time watching this movie.  I probably would’ve had a infinite amount more fun watching it had it not put on its serious face, but I guess we really can’t have our cake and eat it too.  Look, not everyone is meant to win an Oscar, but someone forgot to tell everyone involved with this movie.

But let’s talk about the movie shall we?

The movie very simply and to the point gives us the motivation behind our 16th president wanting to slay a little vampire ass.  As a young boy, Abraham witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire one night.  The killing was revenge for Abe and his father saving the life of a young black kid, Will Johnson (who in real life worked as a valet and messenger for President Lincoln).  Abe, now older (and played in the rest of the movie by Benjamin Walker) and bent on revenge, tries to kill the man who killed his mom,  problems arise and he is saved by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper). 

Henry is a vampire, but the good kind, like Edward Cullen and he teaches Abe the ropes on how to kill vampires.  You see the vampires, led by plantation owner and head vampire Adam (Rufus Sewell), have set up shop in the south and are using the slaves for their blood.  Henry sends Abe out, telling him if he is truly serious on killing vampires, then he must do so but must live a life of solitude when doing so.

Well that doesn’t work out.  Abe meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and decides to fight the vampires another way…by becoming president and freeing the slaves.  The movie’s climax sits with the Civil War, as the vampires are fighting for the south and Abe, from the White House, overcomes what seems to be the improbability of winning the war by using all the silver this country has to offer and destroys the vampires and Adam

Oh, and he free the slaves as well…sounds pretty heady doesn’t it? The movie uses real individuals and real events, it just puts vampires at the root cause of things (like using the underground railroad to transport the silver & killing Abe’s young son William).

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter just suffers from the weight of its own seriousness.  The only light moments come from the few minutes they show Abe courting Mary Todd.  Again, this is movie about Lincoln killing vampires and to the author of the book and screenwriter of this movie Seth Grahame Smith…have some fun with this dude (FYI for next time if you decide to write JFK: Alien Hunter). 

Where the movie succeeds is with the actors and their portrayals (especially Benjamin Walker as Abe) and with the action sequences.  There are some decent slo-mo shots as the director Timur Bekmambetov is no slouch in this dept.  I didn’t see the movie in 3D, but if you decide to see this, I wouldn’t waste my time with it, the movie is too dark I think for the 3D to really pop.  Thanks Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for not completely wasting my time, I just wish you weren't such a downer.


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