Vampirism has boosted so much in the last few years. The Twilight series and the TV shows True Blood and The Vampire Diaries has helped boost the different variations on the mythology behind vampires for modern times, so this adaptation of a historical figure being a prolific hunter offers a somewhat unnecessary different perspective.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the big-screen adaptation of the 2010 book written by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith, where his mother’s sudden death drives a young Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) to revenge, only to inadvertently discover the existence of vampires. Trained by the mysterious Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), he becomes an axe-wielding vampire hunter. However, politics and relationships make Lincoln think twice about continuing his life as a hunter.
Even though AL: VH offers a new insight into the vampire mythology already established, there are a lot of unanswered questions as to what ‘rules’ apply to the vampires in the film. They tend to go against the norms with little explanation or background as to how they behave as they do, therefore this gives the story less of a foundation. For a film that is partially delving into a popular trend, it isn’t giving itself a lot of credit.
The story itself is more told with actions than words – it is hard to root for Lincoln when he is steering towards politics but he is pretty badass with a silver-edged axe. However, it seems that the personal journey for a prolific figure in American history is shaped only by the fictional pursuits of killing vamps. Writer Grahame-Smith can be credited for effectively mashing-up the historical with the supernatural, but his script ironically lacks imagination and wit. Timur Bekmambetov’s direction is quite uneven and doesn’t keep up with the stretched-out timeline of the film, echoing his efforts from his 2008 directorial debut Wanted; concentrating on the visual effects and the fight sequences. Obviously actions speak louder than words in Bekmambetov’s eyes.
Don’t let the 3D put you off the film; if anything, it compliments some (though not all) of the fight scenes featured. The constant slow-motion is excessive but you don’t often see axes used in films anymore and the choreography featured is enjoyable. Walker is mildly watchable as Abe Lincoln, as is Cooper and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd, Lincoln’s wife. The bad guys – Adam (Rufus Sewell) and Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) – however, don’t really raise the bar when it comes to being scary villains.
Fun and downright ridiculous in some parts, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter just tries too hard.