Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Based on the Novel by: Seth Grahame-Smith
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Abraham Lincoln, a vampire hunter? Regardless of whether or not you count yourself as a history buff, the mere thought of America's 16th president killing supernatural bloodsuckers is an example of pulp fantasy history at its finest. It's just a shame that the CGI-laden Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn't live up to the entertaining potential of its title.
Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also wrote the screenplay) and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, Vampire Hunter is never given the chance to let loose and have fun with the subject matter. Author and director make the curious decision of taking the tale seriously, the result being a slow slog through what ultimately amounts to nothing more than a fictional biography of a respected historical figure.
In the prologue, young Abe witnesses the death of his beloved mother at the hands of a slave-owning vampire (Marton Csokas). Years later, Abraham (Benjamin Walker) teams up with Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), a man with his own ax to grind when it comes to vampires.
Henry informs Abe that there's been a rampant infestation of bloodsuckers since the Europeans emigrated to North America. The vampires, in particular, were attracted to the Deep South, where they fed off the bodies of African slaves and gathered under the rule of their 5,000-year-old leader, Adam (Rufus Sewell).
|Erin Wesson and Benjamin Walker|
It's the thought of Adam and his undead henchmen wreaking havoc across the United States that ultimately inspires Abe to run for office. The flick posits that he didn't necessarily sign the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery per se -- he did it moreso out of a desperate attempt to quell the tide of vampires controlling the United States.
All of this sounds as though it would make for an instant cult classic. Alas, instead of a wildly entertaining and clever piece of tongue-in-cheek revisionist history, Vampire Hunter is as dull and lifeless as its nocturnal villains. If nothing else, it should be pure, unadulterated camp. Instead it's saddled with clunky dialogue and randomly inserted action sequences that try desperately to hold viewer interest. Only Walker and Sewell seem to be having some fun in their respective roles as Lincoln and Adam, yet even they can't rise above the plodding material.
Anyone looking for laughs or the cheap thrills that usually come with B-movie territory will be sorely disappointed. Vampire Hunter promises much and delivers little.
Why so serious, Abe?
FINAL GRADE: C+