Springfield, Illinois – a town full of pompous personalities who could suck the life blood out of an entire state.
Well, I NEVER!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER is about Abraham Lincoln, one of history’s most beloved political figures, hunting vampires. That’s pretty much it.
There are some underlying themes – slavery, Civil War, top hats. But it’s really as simple as this – if you can buy into the concept of Honest Abe taking a battle axe to the throat of dozens of screaming-for-no-reason vampire zombie things, you will probably enjoy this movie. I did.
I have not read any of Seth Grahame-Smith’s books. With ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, and the previous PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, the author has built a following around his genre-bending work.
Here, we follow Abe Lincoln’s life, from son of a hard-workin’ family to leader of the North against the South. There is quite a bit of time and content covered here, but really, it’s about a boy whose parents were killed by vampires, and the rest of his life spent avenging their deaths.
ALVH works best when it is knee deep in humorous historical references. But as a straight up horror/action flick? It’s frustratingly predictable, and at times, downright boring.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself. But whenever I walk into these mashup movies, I always ask myself if the movie would work without the gimmick. What if this was about some regular guy fighting vampires during the Civil War? Would the story be strong enough to make the film interesting? In this case, the answer is no.
Also no help are the straight out of XBox visual effects. This is a movie designed for the 120hz generation – characters move across the screen with “auto motion plus” fluidity. And seeing Abe fly his axe around screen at breakneck speed before jamming it down some creep’s throat in slow motion is cool the first 20 times, but by hour two, it’s as old as General Twilight.
Did I mention I enjoyed myself? Benjamin Walker is a strong lead as Abe Lincoln. He’s charming enough to make Lincoln’s young years engaging, stoic enough to pull off his Civil War days. The screenplay, adapted by Grahame-Smith himself, flirts nicely between all-out horror and tongue-in-cheek comedy.
Yet I wonder if the book has more magic than what made the screen. ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER was entertaining enough to make me want to investigate the answer.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER earns a Leshock Value of $6 out of a possible $10.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times