Big Screen Review :: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

August 6th 2012

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news everybody, but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is pretty stupid. What we have here is an absurdly straight faced telling of the life of the esteemed 16th President of the United States all the way from the death of his mother to the death of his son, from his boyhood all the way to his trip to the theatre. It contains all the key moments of his life, like the Gettysburg address, and that time he had that massive axe fight on top of a train as it crashed through a huge burning wooden bridge. Not just that be we see the smaller moments; his courtship with Mary Todd, shop-keeping career, and who could forget that time he got into a massive chase through a stampede and a dickhead vampire threw a horse at him. All are recorded here for posterity.

This movie started out as an idea from Seth Grahame-Smith, that guy who wrote Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters and some other stupid books with funny titles that I have not read. He also wrote Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, and purely based on this and that, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest he is not a very good writer. Burton liked it so much that he bought the premise with his own money, and set it up for his buddy the Mad Russian Timur Bekmambetov to direct. All of this I fully support by the way. I am absolutely on board this film in principle. Bekmambetov’s crazy style is perfect for this crazy idea, and I wanted them just to go nuts with it and make an awesome B movie. Instead the movie is the last thing I expected it to be, boring. The filmmakers apparently got it into their heads that the way to approach this was by doing a pretty straight faced cheap looking Lincoln biopic, just using Vampires as Lincoln’s motivation, and chucking in a couple of really bad action scenes to beef up the trailers.

It’s long and slow and full of terrible dialogue and dry exposition. I don’t think anybody came into this movie wanting to see a cheap reenactment of the Lincoln Douglas debates Seth Graheme-Smith. Come on. I also hated that way that it simplified Lincoln’s highly complex and evolving relationship with slavery. That’s right. I just complained about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter being historically inaccurate. All these are conceptual problems, but mostly the film stinks because it is really poorly made. The cast is mostly fine, including poor Benjamin Walker who probably didn’t think his big break would involve learning both the Gettysburg Address and the intricate art of Axe Twirling, however it’s horribly shot and ugly. If you have seen his Russian films Night Watch and Day Watch you will know Bekmambetov is not a man to let budgets get in the way of his ambition, but the effects in this movie make the actions scenes look like cheap cut scenes from a video game, complete with heaps of smoke and dust to save expensive background rendering. What I am trying to say is, I was not wholly convinced that a real horse was thrown Lincoln during that stampede. I really wanted this to be good. Seriously. It just sounded so fun and weird and crazy, so it gives me no pleasure to report that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was crap. Sorry everyone



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