Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter | Movie review
Honest Abe goes Van Helsing on some vampire ass.
Zero score and several years ago, Timur Bekmambetov brought forth on this continent a new breed of brainless vampire movie, conceived in the image of The Matrix and dedicated to the proposition that a genre film need not make sense—narratively, visually or otherwise—to excite adolescents of all ages. The Night Watch director has done it again with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, though the real auteur behind this powerfully stupid horror-history mash-up is novelist-turned-screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. The guy’s making quite the living out of plunking monsters down where (and when) they don’t belong. Having already pitted Mr. Darcy against the undead (the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and dropped an ageless bloodsucker into the ’70s (this summer’s Tim Burton–helmed Dark Shadows), Grahame-Smith adapts for the screen his own best-seller, which posits that our 16th President spent many of his free evenings emancipating vampire heads from writhing, inhuman bodies.
For those not smirking at the thought of Honest Abe meting out executive death blows, AL:VH will feel as long as Ken Burns’s The Civil War. Benjamin Walker, who looks like a young Liam Neeson, brings Mt. Rushmore–worthy features but little else to the title role. The choppy, physics-defying training montages remind you you’re watching a new film from the director of Wanted. The cameo appearances (Alan Tudyk as Stephen A. Douglas!) and wink-wink references (“We’re going to be late for the theater”) suggest you’re watching a comic-book prequel. And a surprisingly solid supporting cast reinforces the notion that trashy franchise-wannabes are the lifeblood of Hollywood B-listers. If only all dumb-fun entertainments were created equal. This one seems as if it was edited with an ax and written over a President’s Day weekend.