Film Review: ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ Proves History Bites

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CHICAGO – In this new film, don’t describe the 16th U.S. President as “The Great Emancipator,” call him “The Great Kick-Ass-ipator.” In this high concept romp, the President who presided over the Civil War is now winning it single-handedly by fighting his demons in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

This is a truly bizarre re-imagining of history, especially if you hadn’t read the source novel. The legacy of Abraham Lincoln is co-opted into a horror film, which presupposes that the United States will be overrun by vampires – and they all have super strength, the usual blood lust and immortality – unless they can be stopped by expert vampire killers, which includes Lincoln. This is comic book territory, and that element has its moments, especially in the Civil War parts, but overall the mix of vampires and history – especially the tragic struggle on the slavery issue – ultimately is unsavory.

Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is shown writing his memoirs at the film’s onset, chronicling his heavy burden in the just finished Civil War. But some other truth is about to be self-evident, for as a young man he was picked to be a vampire hunter. The source of that occupation involved his mother Nancy (Robin McLeavy), who was killed by a blood sucker named Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). When Lincoln is older, he clumsily tries to exact his revenge, and is rescued in that pursuit by a mysterious stranger named Henry (Dominic Cooper).

Henry is a vampire hunter trainer, and puts Lincoln through the killing motions, as the old Rail Splitter learns some fancy ax maneuvers in order to efficiency displace the vampire army. In exchange for his training, he must move to Springfield, Illinois, where Southern gothic vamps are infiltrating the north. Slavery is part of the equation of these evil garlic haters, and Lincoln not only uses his killing skills, but his oratory gifts to fight the usurpers. As the boy grows to a presidential man – and marries Mary Tood (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) – he will face his greatest challenge during a crucial battle in the Civil War. Will Honest Abe be able to defeat a dishonorable enemy?

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” opens everywhere June 22nd. Featuring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jimmi Simpson and Marton Csokas. Screenplay by Sean Grahame-Smith. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

Benjamin Walker
His Ax is Marching On: Benjamin Walker (Young Lincoln) in Action for ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’
Photo credit: Stephen Vaughan for Twentieth Century Fox

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

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