There are many things we all learned about our great 16th President. He was honest, tall, wore a stove top hat, freed the slaves and was assassinated while watching a play. Now comes the startling revelation that Abe was also our Impaler in Chief!
Following on the heels of literary mash-ups that paired Jane Austin romance with zombie apocalypse comes the big screen adaptation of the book “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. But while author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith failed miserably with “Dark Shadows”, he soars to mesmerizing heights with his latest effort to hit the big screen, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”!
The funny thing is this horror movie isn’t really that scary. There are some excellent jumps in it but what it lacks in fear it more than makes up for in fierceness! It is an exciting, edge of your seat thriller with some of the best, most inventive CGI action scenes I have seen in a long time. It is a true rollercoaster of fun!
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” starts out with Abe as a small boy with wide eyes, hip to the inequalities of slave hood. When a brutal overseer tries to whip a small black boy, Abe tries to intercede. The move infuriates the man and he takes to whipping Abe, too. When Abe’s parents come to the rescue, Abe’s dad is fired and the family threatened. In the dark of night the overseer creeps into the Lincoln home and bites Abe’s mother. Abe witnesses part of the event and is shocked to see the overseer’s blood red eyes.
He grows to manhood with one goal in mind: revenge. The day he decides to take action, he tries to drink up his courage. A friendly stranger sharing the bar remarks that there are only 2 reasons why men drink like that. Abe leaves and finds the overseer. But apparently those blood red eyes he saw so long ago did not tip him off to the fact that something was very wrong with that overseer. Needless to say, the vampire makes quick work of Abe and would have killed him if that very same stranger from the bar did not come to his rescue.
The stranger, Henry Sturgess, clues Abe in on the ways of the world. Vampires, yes vampires are secretly wreaking havoc and he will teach young Abe how to kill them.
He trains Abe by becoming his sparring partner. But when it comes to a weapon of choice, Abe prefers something he is most comfortable with: an axe. Soon the two are willing partners in an attempt to rid the country of the hideous, brutal blood suckers.
Then Abe meets and falls in love with Mary Todd. He knows the only way to keep her out of harm is to hang up his axe and pick up his law books. Little did he know that the real showdown was yet to come and during the darkest hours of our country’s existence.
Grahame-Smith weaves a fascinating tale putting a gothic spin on real life history. Each twist and turn is a blast, literally! Director Timur Bekmambetov weaves break neck pacing and solemn, quiet introspective moments, with a skilled master’s touch. Visually, the movie is a CGI feast and some of the best use of 3D magic to date.
Of course all these fancy trimmings would be a waste if the man beneath the stove pipe hat was a dud but relative unknown Benjamin Walker is a magnificent find. By movie’s end you totally believe in his Lincoln and he ‘grows’ into the look so believably that the make-up department deserves an Oscar nomination at the very least.
Walker is outstanding and he is in excellent company with a great cast. Everyone in parts large and small does a remarkable job with special kudos going to Dominic Cooper (the duel part dynamo from last year’s “The Devil’s Double”) as Sturgess, Anthony Mackie as Lincoln’s childhood friend, Will Johnson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”) as Mary Todd and last but not least, Jimmi Simpson as boss turned BFF Joshua Speed.
When I saw the first trailer for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” several months ago I laughed out loud and said, “Oh, brother”. Well the last laugh was on me. And trust me there were several. I had so much fun watching this bloody, explosive, fantasy filled feast of re-invented history. I think even old Abe would have been amused. Honest!
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” mashes up 4 Red Vines for fierce fun!
LADIES ROOM LOWDOWN: Took my best horror loving girlfriend with me and we both jumped and laughed our way through the whole movie and couldn’t stop giggling at our own sickness all the way out! Good times. Good times.
A preview of this movie was provided to me by the studio but it in no way affects my unbiased review.