Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter says it all in the title; a title that will result in a chuckle, a roll of the eyes or quite possibly both. It is an attention grabbing name but it is also a joke and high concept conceit that wears thin quickly. This takes a ridiculous ‘what if’ premise and then proceeds to neither expand on the conceit or even revel in its campy daftness. Instead it is just plain stupid without being entertainingly silly.

If you couldn’t guess this is a revisionist story about the would be President’s early life as a vampire slayer. Whilst it provides a whistle stop tour through some of America’s history it naturally dispenses of anything remotely approaching fact. The first thing that really struck me about the film (bar the offensively bad dialogue) is how spectacularly cheap it all looks. The film, whilst far from a mega budget movie, had decent money spent on it but you wouldn’t believe it with rough special effects, naff 3D embellishments and a frankly ugly oversaturated image that is supposed to illustrate its period setting. It is still a movie that features director, Timur Bekmambetov’s, visual flair (slow motion, vertiginous camera swoops) but they are either poorly implemented or overused meaning this is easily his ugliest film to date.

On paper at least the action sequences should have been promising. Yet an elaborate stampede or a Gettysburg battle raise only laughs rather than the heart rate thanks to bad execution. Bekmambetov certainly throws enough at the screen, and keeps the pace ticking over, but for all its flash and noise it is never once entertaining. Instead it is as lifeless as the vampires Lincoln dispatches with his silver axe, but sadly missing their bite. Benjamin Walker makes a solid Liam Neeson, sorry, Abraham Lincoln but his support is lacking. Winstead is a bland love interest (this purely down to the script), Cooper as Lincoln’s trainer isn’t much better and Sewell makes for a very weak antagonist.

In the end this is the sort of drivel that the Syfy Channel would produce but at least they’d have the common sense to spend no more than $10 getting it made. Maybe this should have been called, Abraham Lincoln: Grave Turner.

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