Movie Review: ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ – Iowa State Daily

‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’
Davalyn Stepzinski

When the filmmakers are aware that the premise is absurd, you can allow yourself to get carried away with the “what if” option they’re vying for.
To be honest, the less you know about this story going in is probably better in the long run, because on paper the summary could induce a few moans. Just know that once it gets going you’ll find yourself sucked in. Oh, the puns. If you really want an idea though, it goes like this: Young Abraham Lincoln (Lux Haney-Jardine) is a lone witness to the murder of his mother which provokes him to avenge her death and fight back against injustice. As he grows up, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) carries this vendetta, while pursuing law and the beautiful Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). With the help of Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), Lincoln learns how to defeat his mother’s murderer and accomplices, while he becomes president and settles the Civil War.
The moment I realized I was going to be reviewing this film, I was resigned to the idea that this was going to be a festival of cheesy lines, terrible acting and a weak plot line that was covered up with stylish computer effects. For said reasons, I was even looking forward to it, since sometimes you simply want to watch a delightfully awful movie. Instead I found myself caught up in this ridiculous adventure, only criticizing the handful of campy lines and sequences that only added to its unusual charm in the long run.
This film is based on the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, also responsible for the sensation “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I have read neither as of now, but I can admit being grateful that he adapted the book to the screen, since it allowed for him the opportunity to make it as similar or dissimilar to the novel he created. For what it is, I think it is successful. Unless we’re supposed to actually really believe Lincoln was fighting to kill off a race of bloodsuckers, which I think we can safely say, we’re not supposed to; this is all in good fun. I won’t pretend I am an historian of Abraham Lincoln, so I will not even attempt to confirm parts of this story for accuracy. I will point out, however, that with the recent release of the biopic “Lincoln,” based on an historian’s biography, there is no better time for a compare and contrast. Better put: perfect night for a double feature.
Still, you’ll notice they mention the quotation from a Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal,” while the vampires and humans are having it out. If you’re like me, you’ll take this too seriously and wonder if this changed Lincoln’s character a bit in the prejudice department. In terms of violence, this film is similar to the style of “300” and “Sweeney Todd”; if you handled those movies without trouble, you’ll handle this just fine. I cannot handle vast amounts of blood or gore and this was not difficult to sit through.
The lone featurette on this DVD is at just about 15 minutes, with some insight on the whole process and interviews with the writer, director and many of the actors. It shed some light on how they approached the film and it’s worth the watch if you enjoyed the movie.
Short version: There are much worse movies to be had out there, and if you’re looking for a silly adventure in comic-book fashion, look no further.
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