Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should’ve never been made into a movie. It’s one of those delicate books that needs to be taken care of by the very best of writers, producers and director or else it could become a huge mistake. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened in the transition to the big screen.
The goofy and laughable story starts off with a young Lincoln, who witnesses the murder of his mother in the hands of a vampire, and he soon seeks out for revenge. On his way towards avenging his mother’s death, he is introduced to Henry, played by Dominic Cooper, who pledges to support and teach him the ways of vampire hunting. While eventually heading his way towards Springfield, IL and following the “true” path of Lincoln’s life in law, politics and eventually his Presidency, we witness his dark life of killing vampires, discovering the political entity of vampire relations and the whole mess of a situation the United States is in as the South has an entire breed of vampires acting as slave and plantation owners. He uses this motivation to eventually start the Civil War as ending slavery is the front and large issue, while behind the scenes destroying vampire nation is clearly the focus for the 16th President, who is played by Benjamin Walker.
Sounds silly right? I know. But this wasn’t my main issue with the Timur Bekmambetov film. Though the plot is borderline ridiculous and the mixture of actual historical events like Lincoln marrying Mary Todd and his eventual rise through politics, I somewhat enjoyed the laughable story. No, the biggest issue I had with the film was well, it was just one giant mess. There was no clear understanding of what the direction of this film was going to be. If you’re going to do something potentially silly but you want it to come as something serious, then there must be very careful development in characters, the story and eventually the outcome. But every scene is just mishandled from timing, pace and just the overall sense of basic film. What I don’t understand is how you could screw up almost the entire film. Yes, no film is perfect and usually there are a few scenes where you can say, “well they should’ve slowed it down here, or edited this better” but almost every cut is just amazingly messed up. Either everyone in the editing room was high or infatuated with all that axe swinging because not one aspect of the film was done with any care or mediocrity.
It boggles my mind how poorly this entire thing was handled. One of the biggest and laughable scenes was one of their major action scenes where Lincoln is chasing his mother’s murderer through a stampede of horses. Besides the fact that entire thing looked faker than Walker’s make-up as Lincoln, the entire set-up was hilarious. In a real, terrible way. Who knew that a vampire throwing a horse with one limb would be so funny. And the way the theater would giggle and chuckle throughout, Abraham Lincoln played better as a comedy than it would ever pass as a serious film.
No matter what it tried to do that was borderline successful, it would lead into something dumb and misplayed, and this was a stronger theme present than anything else it tried to accomplish. I don’t know who’s to blame for this. Maybe it’s not just one individual or the brains/creators behind this pretty awful movie, but maybe the material itself. This possibly could be one of those few original sources that should’ve never been translated into film. Not all books can become movies, and especially the example Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has created, the industry should be aware of crossing into such dangerous territory…like a region infested with racist vampires. Yeah, I know. Hilarious!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter gets 2 stars (out of 5).