Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln. Killin’ him some vampires.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” reimagines the 16th President of the United States as an axe-wielding slayer of the undead. He’s driven to vengeance after witnessing a vampire killing his mother while he was a young boy. As he begins his efforts, he has the fortune to fall in with an expert in exterminating the creatures, who trains young Abe in the art. Honest Abe’s weapon of choice is the axe, which he learns to wield with the power of Paul Bunyan and the dexterity of Bruce Lee. He then sets off to assassinate the undead.

The movie intertwines the actual events of Lincoln’s life with his hypothetical fight against Vampires. Thus, when he moved to Springfield to become a shopkeeper and study law, it was actually to slay the undead residing in the city. Vampires shadow his early political ambitions, and of course, the biggest event of Lincoln’s presidency – the Civil War – was actually a war to end the Vampire threat.

The movie is filled with CGI laden slow-mo action sequences, highlighting Lincoln’s axe twirling attack style. He beheads vampires and sends blood spatters arcing across the screen while appropriate “Slo-motion sound effects” play. There are people fighting atop of a speeding train, and Lincoln fighting a vampire amidst a horse stampede. Stylistically the action here feels like a cross between Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movies and Zack Snyder’s “300”. Unfortunately, even though there are times when Lincoln’s martial arts majorette routine is impressive, more often than not the action scenes are too much style, not enough stakes.

The cast is entertaining enough, nothing here remarkable in any way, but they’re all passable. Benjamin Walker resembles Lincoln sufficiently, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fetching as Mary Todd Lincoln, and the villains are acceptably evil. Alan Tudyk pops in for a couple of scenes that will make you think… “What is Alan Tudyk doing here?”

No one shines, but I think that that’s the issue with the movie as a whole as well. Aside from the high concept – Abraham Lincoln as an action hero – this flick doesn’t have a lot to offer. It’s neat at times to see how they mix the Vampires in with historical events (Vampires were using slaves as food, for example) but at others it seems a little silly. And the frequent fall back is to the action sequences, which are… uninspired, for the most part, outside of Lincoln’s ax twirling.

It’s a fine enough diversion for a movie on cable, but I can’t recommend a trip to the theatre for it.


Let’s stick to the history books, people.

46 thoughts on “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

  1. I’ve been feeling ambivalent about this film. I have the book on my stack of ‘to-reads’ by my bed. I’ve been trying to decide if it would be better to watch the film before the book. If the film isn’t that great, it might be better to get it over with first. That way it doesn’t piss me off when I see what the film makers did with the story.

    • HAHA! LOL… now THAT is sound logic, right there.

      Yeah, my buddy I went with had read the book, he said there were a few things they changed… I’m pretty sure he liked the book more.

    • If you liked Seth Grahame-Smith’s other historical/horror mashups, then you’ll probably enjoy the book, maybe more than the movie, from what Fogs says. My only problem with the concept of the book is that it minimized the actual human evil of slavery by blaming it on vampires. But it’s still a good fun read, with a boat load of factual history merged fairly seamlessly with the fiction.

    • It’s probably what I’d recommend.

      I’m not sure if loving the book will make you like the movie more, or be even more frustrated with it, man. LOL

      My friend was saying they focused way more on the action in the movie (well, obviously, right, but still…)

  2. I didn’t even know this movie was based on a book – that shows you how much attention I’ve been paying to this one…but I think I’d still like to rent it, if only for those axe-twirling scenes (they kinda got to me, plus I love vampires;) !

    • Wellllll…. fair warning, Livi?

      This is one of those flicks where the “Vampire rules” get played fast and loose with. There’s some daywalking going on, and then the ways to kill them are completely messed with, etc etc.

      So… just saying.

      • More reasons why I will NOT be seeing it in theaters…in fact, I might settle for the (free) online version now. I hate it when filmmakers mess up traditions (Sparkly Ed, I’m thinking of you!).

  3. I was hoping for a higher grade, but i can see your point. I remember the book being so exciting that I thought it would be easily translated onto the big screen, but I’m pretty against the whole CGI style of fighting. It’s so lame. LOL Well, not all of it is lame.

    Anyway, it’s great to be back in the states and reading your blog again…what did I miss? LOL

    • The world traveling JEN Kakio!

      Jen, has anyone ever resented you going HOME after vaction to HAWAII? LOL, If not, allow me to be the first. 😀

      Not much, I got nominated for a bunch of Lammy awards, but I’m in the middle of going 0-8 LOL. I did do a really fun post on Commando just the other day, you might want to check that out 😉 Even if you dont like Ahnuld, I bet you’d still find it funny.


      It’s awesome to see you again, how come you didnt mention you were going to be updating your blog as you went? Damn it, I just popped over and you have tons of stuff! LOL… I thought you were pretty much off the grid! I’m gonna be by in a bit and catch up on your posts… so freakin cool.

    • Yeah, that’s just about right dude.

      I’ve heard a couple of people who have liked it, but its got a really low ceiling potential I think, even for people who like it more than I did…

  4. I think what perplexes me is that you might have expected anything other than what you got.

    I should disclose that I haven’t partaken on either the book of movie. That said, it seemed to me when I first heard about the movie being made that I just assumed the book would have some semblance, at the very least, of high concept while the movie would be more action focused.

    The “300” type visuals I find myself not one bit surprised by, sad to say. I didn’t care for them in that one, so I think I can skip this flick with a clear conscience.

    • I didn’t Dak, if anything, I’m on the record on my podcast saying that I thought it would suck horrendously, LOL

      I try to cover all the big opnenings, regardless of how I think they’re gonna be though.

      And LOL… I think if you didnt like the 300 visuals, you should definitely skip this one. Cause they were so much better there. 😀

      • My being facetious so completely doesn’t translate to type, sorry about that.

        I can appreciate that you want to maintain full objectivity, but that doesn’t mean saying you get what you are expecting isn’t a bad way to go, too.

        Anyway, back to this movie for a moment… I find it so saddening that something with such an interesting concept such as this ends up this way. Just a damn shame. Are smart movies with action really so damned difficult?

      • Yeah… I think they are actually.

        Long before I was even blogging I used to say to all my friends as we watched movies, every year gives us 5 or 10 great dramas, funny comedies come out constantly… but a great action movie is the rarest gem of them all.

        I stand by it. They’re few and far between, its super difficult to pull it all together for some reason. Its tough blending all of that action in and still having time to develop great characters and have a great plot. Add to that the fact that Hollywood knows the action will sell itself, so a lot of these properties dont get developed as fully as they need to to be great Dak, you know? They just get churned out.

        That’s my thinking at least…

        And no sweat man, we’re all good 😀

  5. Honestly, a C is about what I was expecting. It sounded like a “dumb but kinda fun” movie from the get-go. Not really expecting anything much here beyond being just moderately entertaining.

  6. Looks like we have a disagreement here. I loved it. The scene with the horses was fantastic. The 3D was the best I’ve seen since Hugo. I felt the actor playing Lincoln had the charisma that a President should have. Another thing I loved about it was that they filmmakers didn’t camp it up but kept it serious. I would rank this up there with my favorite vampire film “Near Dark”. Gave this one a 9. (The vampires in daylight kept it from a 10.)

    • WOW! Easy there, tex! A nine? Cmon, now… 😀

      (Although I like Near Dark a lot, good call)

      Definitely didnt see the same movie… Although, I’ll grant the main lead looked the part, had a good Abe Lincoln impersonation going on, etc. But I thought this was a standard, generic CGI actioner at best.

      It’s cool though, always happy when people like a movie, Al

      • Too bad I don’t have 3D capabilities at home. I’d love to buy this in BD3D.

  7. Yea the movie looks pretty uninspired from the previews so I wasn’t expecting much more. I might give it a rental just for fun but no way I’m shelling out money to see it in theater…

  8. Well unless there’s two “Lincoln” movies this year, Never Too Early Movie Predictions has this as best picture of the year for 2012! OOPS! Can’t win um all. He did have the “Artist” for last year. Just goes to show there’s no accounting for taste!

    • Spielberg has a Lincoln biopic coming out at some point towards the end of the year. No firm release date yet.

      I’m sure he’ll be glad to know youre checking out his site, though.

      • D’OH! Figures. What’s with Moonrise Kingdom? Doesn’t it make you wish you lived in someplace like say Toronto. Where you actually got to see “Limited” releases. Hollywood must think Connecticut is the sticks! Thanx for the Spielberg update, that’s why you’re the go to guy!

  9. I enjoyed this one man! it’s funny, this weekend we ended up opposites on our films (but not by far) Brave and Abe! haha. I thought they were ingenious with this rather outlandish idea and how to sell it. It kinda makes you wish there was a hint of truth to it. I really liked how well they incorporated all the historical people and events. Even Ford’s Theater…WOW.

    Fun review though. Thanks.

    • Yeaaaaaahhhh, I dunno.

      I mean, I agree, the idea is fun. But outside of that, there isnt much. And if the action sequences here dont connect with someone (like me, say, LOL) then you wind up at a loss.

      It’s not a terrible flick or anything, I just cant get enthused about it too much. 😉

  10. My enthusiasm is largely based on my expectations. This was going to be over the top craptasitic and it pretty much was. I enjoyed the hell out of the book and the movie was different enough to make a fan of the book happy with some extras and alternative realities to the alternative realities.

  11. I knew it when I saw the trailer (the book did not interest me–so I have not read it). My first thought was this is utterly ridiculous and yet, it looks kind of fun–unfortunately the ridiculousness overpowered the fun. My review is pretty similar.

    One thing is for sure, between this and Dark Shadows, I will not be rushing to see another movie written by Seth Grahame-Smith. He seems unable to create fully developed characters and that is usually a deal breaker for me. I say usually because sometimes, if the action is badass enough, I can forgive a 2 dimensional character. Unfortunately, that did not happen in either of those movies. 🙂

    • Yeah, Nedi, it was more of a ridiculous/serious movie, you know? This wasn’t camp or cheese, really, they were playing for keeps and keeping straight faces. Which in a way is unfortunate, because the high concept IS ridiculous.

      Thank you for bringing that to my attention, I hadnt connected that he wrote Dark Shadows… not good news then for “Beetlejuice 2” (not that that wasn’t destined to be an abomination anyways), since he’s attached.

      Nice catch Nedi, thank you. Walking away from this comment a more informed blogger, LOL

      • You’re welcome!

        And yes…abomination indeed! Leave Beetlejuice alone! 🙂

        Hollywood needs some fresh ideas, like ALVH, but then they need to execute them properly.

  12. The trailer for this movie was so bad I will have to force myself to even watch it on DVD, but I really like Mary Elizabeth Winstead so I’ll probably check this out. Slow motion is so annoying in recent movies, Based on the trailer for this one I think it may be even worse here than in Game of Shadows, which was so lame mostly because of the crazy overuse of slow mo.

    • Nodding in silent agreement.

      Totally agree. I’d like to see slo-mo go more than anything. Way over-used, and takes the “action” out of an Action scene! Replaces it with “Style”

      Unfortunately, more often than not, it’s not wielded very stylistically…

  13. Bummer! I was pretty excited about this movie because the book was really fun. For all the different “Classics” which had vampires or zombies added to them, this book was well researched and fun to read. I was hoping the movie would continue that in that vein. OH well…I’ll see it when it comes out on video.

    • It might come across better for you if you’re a big fan of the book WBtD, my friend was a big fan, and he liked it more than I did…

      I’ve seen a couple other positive reviews from other bloggers I’m friends with, too, so the movie has its fans.

      It is batting 37% on Rotten Tomatoes though, for whatever that’s worth

  14. Unfortunately Dan, I have to agree with your review. As you know, I read the book and I really liked it. The book defiantly differs from the movie even has a different ending. But we are talking about the movie here not the book. You called it right when you said that Abe is a cross between Bruce Lee and Paul Bunyan. Even for a fantasy flick, this was not very realistic. Abe has all the dexterity of the undead but as a human. How does that happen? But in any case, this is one of those flicks that I would enjoy no matter how bad it is. But would I recommend it to someone who does not like this sort of fantasy? Probably not. Enough said.

    • LOL! I had thought you’d be arguing with me here, I thought you liked it more than I had. But… at the end of the day, it’s just kind of one of those “Ok” movies that you’re not going to want to rewatch and wont buy on DVD… but you’re not completely pissed as you leave the theatre. 😀

      Cool. Glad you and I see eye to eye on it then!

      • Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I saw it but I do agree with your review. Could have been better.

  15. Sounds a lot like I expected it to be. Though I frankly find the whole conceit to be a paragon of lazy hackishness, even if there IS some novelty to be found in Lincoln axing vampires.

    • Hahahaha!!! 😀

      Wickedly funny.

      I cant speak to the book… seeing as I didnt read it.

      But “lazy hackishness” is pretty much apt for the movie, that’s for sure! 😀

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