Horror review: Abraham Lincoln–Vampire Hunter

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 22, 2012

After watching the period action-horror Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I had three pressing questions for its director, Timur Bekmambetov: why? Why? And—for the love of God (and movies)—why?!

If ever there was a film that had no reason to be, this is it. It goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing. Yet it appears—mainly through its decent production design and costumes—that people actually worked hard on it. It’s confounding why anyone would put that much effort into something so utterly devoid of value.

The story—based on screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2010 novel of the same name—starts with nine-year-old Abe Lincoln (young Lux Haney-Jardine) losing it when his black-kid friend gets whipped on a dock by a scumbag slaver. The Lincoln boy isn’t big on oppression, so in the name of freedom, he grabs a handy axe and goes after the prick.

Things turn sour for his family later on, though, when his mom’s wrist gets fatally gnawed on by a creature of the night. Abe (now played by Benjamin Walker) commits the rest of his life to seeking vengeance—with breaks here and there to become a lawyer and do that soapbox thing.

He hooks up with an experienced vampire hunter (Dominic Cooper) who shows him the tricks of the trade, and the rest of the movie is an endless procession of Matrix-like action scenes that show the Great Emancipator spinning a silver-plated axe like a cheerleader’s baton while ripping the unholy shit out of every bloodsucker north (or south) of the Mason-Dixon line.

When the Civil War breaks out, the wicked Confederates enlist the undead, natch, and it looks like they’re unstoppable until Lincoln realizes that the wealthy Yanks have enough jewellery lying around to forge silver bullets (I thought those were for werewolves?) and cannonballs.

And the rest is history—the type better gleaned through dusty textbooks (or Wikipedia) than this wretched exercise in revisionist camp.

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