Movie Reviews: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter




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     Fox (1 hr. 45 mins)
     Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.
     Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie
Bottom Line:

Jonathan McMillan

Call me old school, but I learned just about everything I needed to know about vampires from the classic mid-80s movies “Fright Night” and “The Lost Boys.”

Rule numero uno: Sunlight kills vampires. Period.

If a vampire can tolerate daytime, it's not a vampire. So with this in mind, know that everything that is right about “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” none of it overcomes this flaw in it's premise. 
By-the-way, there's not a whole lot right with the movie anyway.

Based upon Seth Gramme-Smith’s popular horror novel, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, the film explores the premise, “What if the president’s (known as ‘the great emancipator’) life was motivated by a personal and deep seeded hatred of vampires?

In 19th century America these creatures of the night masqueraded as inn-keepers, pastors, blacksmiths and plantation slave owners. The last of which is morally reprehensible to "Honest Abe," because his mother was killed by a racist "vampire," and his life long best friend is a abolitionist Black man (The Hurt Locker's Anthony Mackie).

The main problem with this film, (besides my beef with the misappropriation of the word vampire), is that it moves way too fast from scene to scene. The pace reminded me of the way a comic book reads – resulting in poor character development and cinematic rhythm. Some scenes were no longer than just a few seconds; about the time it takes to read a page or two of a graphic novel.

The Gramme-Smith’s novel is described as "mash-up" comic, horror, historical and thriller genres. Unfortunately, the film just doesn't successfully get the chemistry correct. There is little in the way of comedy, horror, thrills or historical accuracy to be found. The script is full of plot holes and logical inconsistencies that make as much sense as the silent "L" in Lincoln's part name.

There is enough action to almost make up for the lack of real substance and logic. If the film aimed to be a mind numbing action fest, rather than a highbrow thought provoking study, I may have been less cynical and more forgiving. Ironically, watching a young Liam Nesson looking Benjamin Walker attempt to be an action hero is mildly comedic. Whether this was intentional or not; only the filmmakers know.

Timur Bekmambetov, who directed the 2008 bullet bending Matrix-esque film “Wanted,” shoots AL:VH's action scenes once again liberally using that super- slowed-down-then-super-sped-up film style that made movies like “The Matrix,” “Wanted” and “Sherlock Holmes” visually clever and stunning. As a matter of fact, this movie could (arguably) be described as “300” meets “Holmes” meets “Blade,” although I'm still calling foul in the use of the term vampire! (Yeah, I know, I need to let out go.)

The fact that it was filmed in 3D, rather than converted to 3D in post-production, assists this movie from being a complete disaster as the cinematography is remarkable. The camera picks up the smallest detail of the elaborate period sets, and the 3D subtlety enhances those miniscule details.

Despite it's glaring flaws, the movie is still superficially entertaining. It may have that odd quality that one day may make it a cult classic. Had it not been rated “R,” this movie could have been perfectly marketed towards a young audience and shaped the vampire experience of today’s teenagers like “Fright Night” and “The Lost Boys” did for long as they don't mind sunlight tolerant vampires.



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