There are plenty of reasons not to like the Twilight franchise. I can think of at least 20 without even trying. But one reason that I feel doesn’t get enough attention is the idea that now, whenever an R rated vampire movie comes out, one of the marketing points is them making sure we know these are bad vampires! Back to being evil like they used to be. They never had to mention that before Twilight, that should be a given, not a marketing bullet point. It’s the same way that movies like Bourne Identity (a movie I do like) with their quick cut editing have required other movies like Haywire to say “we have clearly shot fights.” Again, that should be a given! The fact the camera stays still and that you can clearly make out what’s happening is actually cause for celebration now! God, things are so fucking backwards these days.
So Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a pretty good movie.
I’ve owned the book since not long after it came out but have never actually read it for reasons I’m not sure of. I did want to see the movie but nobody else did and it came and went from theatres incredibly quickly so I never had the chance. Then yesterday the bluray came out and I did something I don’t think I’ve done in years - I blind bought it. I used to do this all the time but now I only buy a movie if I’m damn sure I not only want to see it again, but I want to see it again right away. That’s what happens when you have a shelf of like 30 blurays you’ve never even opened despite owning them for years. But I wanted to see this, renting movies is impossible, and blurays are nice and shiny looking on our new TV, so fuck it, I bought it. Thankfully it turned out to be money well spent.
The main thing I love about Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is the same thing a lot of people seemed to hate about it - it plays the premise completely straight. You hear the name and likely assume wacky comedy but no, not at all. It plays out like an historical drama, only every now and then Lincoln whips out an axe and cuts vampires heads off. There’s not a hint of humour and it works so much better than it would if they went all wink wink, isn’t this goofy you guys?
So yeah we follow Lincoln throughout his days both before and during his presidency, and we have real world events in there like his courting of Mary, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and more, only with the added in element of you know, vampire hunting. They do mix the vampires into the historical events surprisingly seamlessly and while some may find it tasteless, I was quite impressed.
Benjamin Walker is quite good as Lincoln. He’s convincing both as the vampire hunter Lincoln, and as President Lincoln, and that’s not an easy feat to pull off. Plus I’m 99% sure that’s actually him doing all the axe twirling, and that is god damn impressive. The supporting cast is fine, but nobody really stands out. It’s always great to see Mary Elizabeth Winstead but the bad guys are pretty typical.
The vampires themselves though are kind of unique in that here, sunlight doesn’t mean shit to them and they can also turn invisible. The invisibility is mostly used as a movie gimmick so a vampire can disappear and then holy shit they’re right in front me ahhhh jump scare! Not sure why they wouldn’t just stay invisible all the time, but hey vampire logic. Also their mouths get really wide and they have teeth like a shark or Baraka from Mortal Kombat or something fucked up anyway. Anyway these guys rank fairly high on the badass vampires scale.
Now this movie is directed by the same guy who did Wanted, and if you’ve seen that then you know this guy is capable of putting together some fucking unique-ass action sequences and he does not disappoint here. There’s a lot of slow motion silliness that reminded me just a wee bit too much of the Resident Evil movies at times, but then occasionally he just goes for broke. This is most evident in a scene about halfway through the movie where Lincoln fights a vampire in the middle of a horse stampede. Holy shit, if you ever wanted to see Lincoln doing parkour on a bunch of horses, then have a horse physically thrown at him by a vampire, you need to watch this right now.
I quite enjoyed Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. It’s such a ballsy move to take this premise and treat it with a completely straight face, but they pull it off really well. I certainly don’t want it to pave the way for others in the same vein (George Washington Mummy Murderer, Bill Clinton Werewolf Slayer...actually no I do want that second one) because I’m more than content knowing that just one movie this batshit insane exists out there. If you’re feeling open minded and especially if you love sweet axe tricks, watch this one.