‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is the latest book adaptation to hit the silver screen, based on the novel of the same name and with a screenplay penned by its author Seth Grahame-Smith. The film rewrites history as we know it as prior to Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) being president and his untimely death he was in fact…you guessed it….a vampire hunter. Driven by an insatiable urge for revenge Lincoln seeks the man who killed his mother when he was a boy to find out the culprit is a vampire. After a botched attempt at revenge Lincoln is helped by the mysterious Henry Strugess (Dominic Cooper) who assists in harnessing his power in return for some vampire hunting favours. After taking out a few vampires Lincoln then finds himself in a bloody showdown with a group of vampires who want the United States to themselves and who are also responsible for the death of his loved ones. Read on…
One of the more positive aspects of the film is the acting bought by an overall young cast which shows strong promise for years to come. Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rufus Sewell are all good in their respective roles but are all suffer from minimal screen time and Anthony Mackie is criminally wasted throughout the entire film. Benjamin Walker as Abe Lincoln was ok but suffered from a lack of presence on screen, presence that a figure such as Lincoln had in abundance.
The direction of the film is surprisingly mediocre in comparison to Bekmambetov’s previous films such as ‘Wanted’ and ‘Night Watch’. When it comes to the action scenes he excels with his pacing and shots, the final fight on a flaming wooden bridge is very impressive. Unfortunately the positives end there as the 3D is used as a horrible gimmick throughout and the story building parts of the film are drab and slow. Despite this the look of the vampires was a decent part of the film and kudos has to be sent towards the FX and make-up team for the efforts, though they do look a little similar to the vampires from ‘Fright Night’ its still a good look none the less.
One of the most horrible glaring issues with the film which is most likely down to the author of the book on which the film is based, who also happened to pen the screenplay, is its horrendous analogies and abuse of historical events. The American Civil War was not as straight as as the Confederacy being funded by a bunch of vampires who pried on slaves….I know this is a film which requires suspension of disbelief but for the love of God its just not right making statements like that in a film about a very pivotal period in history.
Overall ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is a poor addition to the vampire sub-genre and a film that struggles to achieve mediocre status. It shows promise in some areas, specifically the acting by a very young cast and in the exciting action scenes but it is let down by very much every other aspect of the film. A poor and drab story with noticeable jumps in time suck any life and flow out of the film. With an estimated $70 million budget, I struggle to see this film hitting even and I do not see a positive future for Seth-Grahame Smith as a screenwriter if the films he pens continue to be as boring as this and Dark Shadows.