Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter gained fame back in 2011 when Seth Grahame-Smith released his novel of the same name. I remember my mom bringing me home the book after it started getting popular, but I never did get around to reading it. I missed the film’s theatrical release in the summer of 2012, but ended up buying the 3D Blu-ray when I bought my 3D television. Much like the novel, it just sat on my shelves for a long time. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this film, and figured I would be disappointed, so I never bothered watching it. That was a huge mistake, and one I am ecstatic to have remedied.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is exactly what it sounds like: a retelling of the history of ol’ Honest Abe set in an alternate universe where vampires are very real, and Abraham Lincoln is not only one of the country’s best political speakers, but one of its best vampire killers as well.
The story starts out with Lincoln’s mother being killed by a vampire when he is very young. He sets out to seek vengeance once he is old enough. Though he fails, he meets Henry, who goes on to teach him to be a vampire hunter. Once trained, Lincoln moves back to his hometown where he meets a shop owner who agrees to take him in if he works at the store. The bulk of the story takes place here, as Lincoln prepares himself to get revenge for his mother’s death, all the while taking out the local vampire crew. Eventually the story shifts to after Lincoln becomes President, and that is where the film’s climax occurs – an amazing special effects feat that is way over the top, but always a blast to watch – and when the brilliance of the film really shines through.
There is very little to dislike about Vampire Hunter. The effects are stunning, and the 3D work is excellent. The story is engaging, and does a nice job of making this alternate reality as realistic as possible, given the circumstances. This film is the definition of over the top, but once you remember that you are dealing with mythical vampires anyway, the fact that Abe Lincoln can run across the backs of a stampede of horses in order to chase a vampire is easier to by into. Lincoln, played by Benjamin Walker, is wonderfully likable, and the chemistry between he and Mary Elizabeth Winstead – playing Mary Todd – is palpable and energetic (frankly, this is the first time I genuinely liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an actress). The rest of the cast delivers as well, with Anthony Mackie, Jimmi Simpson, and Dominic Cooper being the biggest standouts.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter feels like a B-horror flick with a huge budget, and it is an absolute blast. The script is smarter and wittier than it has any right to be, and the cast plays it perfectly. This is the type of film that I can watch over and over again, and although it slows down a bit toward the middle of the film, the climax is incredible, and more than makes up for it. This is not a flick for everyone, but anyone looking for an all out action/horror hybrid that takes a simple concept and runs with it should get a kick out of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.