Okay, I wasn’t a big fan of history class back in high school, but if I only knew that vampires had a hand in shaping America’s history, I would’ve paid more attention.
That’s the basic premise of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on the best-selling novel by Seth Graeme-Smith. A young Abe Lincoln witnesses a vampire bite his mother, who dies as a result of her attack. Many years later, Abe (Benjamin Walker) vows to avenge her death under the guidance of Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper from Mamma Mia!), who schools him in the art of vampire hunting. Lincoln’s weapon of choice? A silver-bladed woodsman axe! Lincoln eventually rises to become America’s 16th president, and ultimately wages battle against a rising vampire army threatening to take over his nation. Is it as ridiculous as it sounds, or is it a piece of cinematic brilliance? Read on!
The Good: The cast is impeccable. Great actors all around, including Walker as Lincoln, Cooper as Henry, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as Mary Todd, Rufus Sewell as vampire overlord Adam, and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) as Lincoln’s best friend, Will Johnston. The cinematography is also quite impressive. The movie has a washed-out sepia-toned look, which captures the turn of the century period well, and combines it with some of the most thrilling battle scenes witnessed on the screen this year. And it’s quite amusing to see how they’ve injected a vampire slaying subplot into the life of Abraham Lincoln. Who would’ve known Abe was so badass? Hmm.
The Gay: Benjamin Walker. From the moments of shirtlessness early on in the film, to the way he wields that axe. Total hotness. Also, Cooper unleashes his abtacular chest onto us viewers as well. Too bad there wasn’t a gay subplot between Abe and Henry. Now that would’ve definitely slayed me!
The Bad: Um, yeah, the story is quite preposterous. But it’s so far-fetched it leans on the side of genius … so I guess it’s good? Whatever.
The Fugly: Oh my, there’s a lot of grotesque scenes in this movie. Plus that nose prosthetic that they put on Walker to shape him into Lincoln makes him look somewhat like a young Liam Neeson. And those vampires scream fugly when they go into full-on vampire attack mode. Those teeth! Yikes!
Slay, or nay? The premise of this film is such an enigma to begin with, it’s hard not to ignore the curiosity factor with a title like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Is it silly? Oh hell yes. I was laughing out loud when I left the theater. But this flick is done with such conviction on all levels – the acting, the direction, the special effects – that the makers of this film seem to all be in on the joke. And that’s what makes it work! Now if more historical movies were like this one, I’d definitely be inclined to watch The History Channel on a Saturday night. Lincoln is such a joy ride, I totally bought into the ridiculousness of the story and gobbled up this brand of fine cheese. I cannot recommend it enough.