One president, one ax and lots of gore
It appears as if every summer must have a single cross-genre screwball film that leads audiences to question the sanity of filmmakers. Last year, it was the sci-fi western Cowboys & Aliens.
This summer, it was the mashup historical-horror Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith.
At first glance it may seem like a parody, but apparently, according to Hollywood, there’s nothing more serious than one of our former presidents parading amidst the Civil War with nothing but a silver-tipped axe and a taste for slicing the necks of fiction’s most notorious, blood-sucking villains.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which came out on DVD on Sept. 18is a gothic tale of vengeance, betrayal, and complete confusion.
In the beginning of the film, Lincoln as a young boy witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire. As he ages into an adult (played by Benjamin Walker), he swears to kill the man that brought upon his mother’s eventual fatality.
Little does he know that this will lead him into a string of events involving extensive training under the watchful eye of Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), whose trustworthiness is teetering on the edge of dangerous and reliable.
Sturges begins sending the now-trained Abraham Lincoln on assignments to assassinate several nearby vampires in order to prove that he is ready to kill the creature that killed his mother many years ago.
Armed with his axe and double-barreled pistol, the soon-to-be political leader trudges a risky path as he struggles deeper and deeper into the hazardous world of obsessive revenge and murder.
More of a shot at the original author (Grahame-Smith) than the writers of the movie’s script itself, but the idea of Abraham Lincoln being the main character felt undeveloped and ineffective until the later-half of the film.
Although the story did progress into his actual presidential run and his dealing with the Civil War, the entire first half of the film could have featured anyone with any name as the lead role.
Not until the final act did the audience truly realize that this man, of all people, is Abraham Lincoln, the president that has become one of the most famous figures in our nation’s history.
Not until then did the historical fairy-tale really make an impact with its strange plot.
Probably one of the redeeming factors about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was its ability to not take itself TOO seriously.
While the movie is no comedy, taking every step into its plot as every typical action movie, there’s only so much a director can do with such an odd premise.
To put it bluntly, it’s a film that sticks true to its title. Abraham Lincoln hunts and slays vampires, and along the way, delivers high-adrenaline chase scenes that pleasure the kind of people looking for a good brawl to watch involving their favorite president.
The effects are crisp enough where it’s not a distraction, and the choreography done in the actual fight scenes feels like magic: smooth and fun to watch.
What is there more to say than how ridiculous the movie felt?
It’s obviously done in a way that’s fun to watch. It’s fast-paced and well put together.
But it lacks the actual feeling of following Abraham Lincoln himself. It doesn’t feel like history.
It feels like any other vampire story, therefore losing the creativity it had in its base idea.
But as the credits roll it was still a good time, despite its flaws.
Though history-buffs beware, as some may feel offended by the bamboozling concept of Lincoln himself slashing open the arteries of deadly mythical monsters.