Well, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter wasn’t the WORST thing to happen to Lincoln in a theater. In fact, it really wasn’t a terrible movie, as long as you watch it correctly. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t a movie to really be taken seriously, but more of a film to sit back and just turn your brain off and laugh at the whole thing. It just feels like a big joke, and the way parts of it are written, it seems like the whole crew knew it too. Having never read this book, obviously I can’t speak for the accuracy of the adaptation, but that’s irrelevant as I see it. You’ve got to kind of just watch this movie without any sort of expectations beforehand, otherwise you will undoubtedly be disappointed. Luckily, there is plenty in this film to be pleasantly surprised about, so if you keep those aforementioned expectations low, you should be good!
Casting was extremely well done, I thought! Benjamin Walker as Abraham Lincoln really did well. He very nicely showed the character’s change of heart and mindset throughout the film with a slew of facial expressions and just his general demeanor. Mary Todd Lincoln, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, was also a nicely cast part. We didn’t really get to see her being crazy like everyone thinks her to be, but maybe we’ll get to see that later in a sequel (Mary Todd: Revenge of the Lincolns anyone? I want producer credit.) Anthony Mackie did well as Lincoln’s childhood friend grown up, Will Johnson, and Jimmi Simpson’s portrayal of Lincoln’s employer and ally Joshua Speed is pretty stellar as well, bringing about a few laughs later in the film. Dominic Cooper as the eccentric and somewhat violent vampire hunter who takes Lincoln under his wing, Henry Sturgess, is a great fit, as is Rufus Sewell as the head Vampire known simply as Adam, and Marton Csokas as the violent plantation owner Jack Barts. Overall, I felt this was cast close to perfect for what this movie was.
The plot was pretty much exactly as you’d expect. A vampire killed his mom, so he wants revenge, tries to kill the vampire that murdered his mother, obviously doesn’t succeed, and then becomes a vampire hunter so he can succeed. That’s pretty much it. The plot of this movie is really pretty thin. There are some side plot points here and there, but overall, it’s a story of revenge and vampire slaughtering. The plot switches sometime along the way and it becomes about the Civil War, and surprisingly enough (spoiler alert) vampires are the reason Gettysburg was so close. Anyway, all of this relies on the existence of a secret diary that Lincoln kept. But that makes this whole story true, right? We totally found that secret diary. Now we just have to find Lincoln’s vampire hunting kit and we can dub this a true story! This really puts our beloved Honest Abe into a whole new light! Now, as I said before, this whole thing felt like a joke that everyone in the movie was in on. There were some truly awful one-liners that you could tell had to be put in to prove just how seriously they weren’t taking this film. “HERE’S YOUR SILVER!” But it’s those instances that save this movie from being a horrible train wreck of a film and send it into an almost satirical piece that tries to put on a somber facade on top of a riotous laugh. I hope that’s what they were aiming for, and watching this film, it really feels like that was their intention.
The visuals, and the 3D, were pretty much worth the price of admission. The entire film had a feeling of an older film without being poor quality, and the vampires were astonishing. They pop out of nowhere occasionally and make you jump out of your seat, and their appearance is stellar. The 3D, while not necessarily invasive, was well worth the price bump. Early in the film, Lincoln shoots a man in the eye, and somehow you can almost feel it go through your eye. The 3D allows that bullet to only go to the same eye of the man that got shot, so it really adds to the film in small, but very cool and intriguing, ways like that. Past that, as I said before, the 3D isn’t invasive, and it’s used in a tasteful manner… Well, as tastefully as a vampire movie can use it. Even if you aren’t into vampire movies, this film’s 3D and visuals, as well as the style of cinematography really deserves a look.
Ultimately, while the entirety of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter feels like a massive joke that the crew wants to just barely hide from you, it does stir quite a few laughs, and as a mindless vampire slaughtering movie, this is definitely something to see. I highly suggest it just based on the 3D aspects that are incorporated, but past that it’s nothing more than a mindless movie to watch some vampires lose their heads and Abe Lincoln being the one to chop them off. Use your own discretion really. It’s probably the easiest way to get something off your mind, and it will definitely be fodder for hysterical criticism for several weeks.