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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Review

 

  I love counterfactual history, in fact I used to write quite a bit of it myself. Counterfactual history is the practice of playing around with the big "What if?" questions and concluding how the world and history might be different because of them.

 

  I was even intrigued by the idea of setting Abraham Lincoln in a world were vampires exist. This is not the first time that I have seen the horrors of the old world brought into the new. I quite enjoyed running a game of the Ravenloft spin off; Gothic Earth, back in the day and got a real joy thumbing through the Colonial Gothic role playing game.

 

  So I was all on board to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the premise didn't even make me blink an eye.

  

  The movie journeys throughout Lincoln's life starting out in his childhood and ending during the time of his presidency.

 

  After witnessing his mother's murder Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) goes on a lifelong quest to avenge her death, but when at last he comes of age and confronts the man responsible for her passing, he finds out that the killer is more then he appears to be.

 

Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter

This man has an axe to grind...

 

  Enter in Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who acts as Lincolns mentor into the world of darkness. The two become fast friends as Lincoln learns from Sturgess about the strengths and weaknesses of vampires and how to do battle against the children of the night.

 

Abraham Lincoln and Henry Sturgess

 

  The vampire mythos of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a bit different then what we are used to seeing on film in recent years. This is a good thing.

 

Lincoln versus Edward

I am team Lincoln!

 

   It's hard for me to say this, but for too long science has gotten in the way of supernatural movies. For some reason writers and directors have felt a call to demystify the monsters that they present to us.

 

  It was refreshing to see the vampires in this movie presented as monsters, intelligent monsters (well mostly, they do make some pretty stupid mistakes), but supernatural monsters nevertheless.

 

  These are not the seductive Bela Lugosi style of vampires nor are they the angst ridden Robert Pattinson type of vampire with longing in their eyes (did I really just put the names of Lugosi and Pattinson in the same sentence? I am so sorry!). No these vampires are much more primal in nature, which is what makes them feel like the true monsters that they are in the film.

 

  The vampires in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter do not fear sunlight or garlic, they do not need to be invited in for tea to kill you. They do however have some interesting powers and problems though.

 

  What derailed the movie for me was the fact that I felt like I was watching a completely different genre of film. Change the setting and characters but keep the same story and action and you would swear it was a remake of a 70's action kung fu movie.

 

Kung Fu

I will teach you to hunt vampires.

 

  Along with this were several "Matrix" type scenes that just really felt out of place, I love action but sometimes things can go a little too far. Once again those same scenes would have felt right at home in a remade kung fu style movie.

 

  The whole affair on how the race issue was handled in the film was a little ham-fisted, showing Lincoln in a really heroic light, being a student of history and having read a few biographies on Lincoln I kind of just shook my head.

 

  As heroic the picture of Lincoln that they tried to paint regarding the issue of race, I was very surprised at how cowardly he was portrayed while trying to avenge the death of his mother.

 

  In real history Lincoln had once fought in a duel against another man using broad swords. Why on earth they chose to portray him the way they did in the confrontation scene against his mothers killer is beyond me.

  

  Overall not a bad movie but not a great one either, the horror element added very little to the film and could have been dropped completely with very little change. Think of this more as an action movie then as a horror movie.

 

   Final verdict for Abraham Lincoln 6/10. An interesting idea that came across as just okay, wait for this one to hit the home market.

 

 ~Professor

 

 

 

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