Movie ReviewsRating: 2.5 of 5 yaps

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

A dull, dour, joyless film, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is a film that has no clue how good it should be.

Benjamin Walker plays the iconic president/bloodsucker killer as a stoic, serious man who is taught to hunt vampires in his youth after one of them (Marton Csokas) kills his mother.

He learns his trade from Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), himself a vampire hunter with something of a secret. Sturgess trains Lincoln to work with a silver-coated ax, which he uses to dispatch the bloodsucking heathens. Henry is his friend and warns him to not forge any lasting bonds with other people who you can be hurt by in the future. Of course, Lincoln meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and soon they are romantically entangled.

The film hops haphazardly from point to point in Lincoln’s life, as if the film were two or even three films smushed together. The jumping around is jarring and distracting as we have to guess what point in his life we’re seeing. His interest in politics is glossed over, and we only see him rise to the presidency in a quick scene to get back to the vampire hunting.

It’s a mistake by director Timur Bekmambatov (“Wanted”) to not capitalize on the sense of fun this film could have brought.

The film would be better served by doing a better job of melding these two professions. There is an awkward marriage of Honest Abe’s distaste for slavery with the vampires, who want to enslave the entire human race, but how he can better combat it as the president is mentioned in passing but not emphasized.

The action scenes are, for the most part, straightforward and uneven. There are a few cool effects (including vampires teleporting themselves), and the vamp designs are different enough from the norm to stand out (there isn’t enough explanation, though, as to how they’re able to bandy about in the daylight without bursting into flames). And the film’s climactic battle is at times thrilling, if a little overwrought.

Rounding out the cast, Rufus Sewell plays the main villain Adam, who is rumored to be the first vampire, and Jimmi Simpson plays Joshua Speed, the shopkeeper who was Lincoln’s longtime friend in real life.

The idea of this film is deliciously fun: Of course, Lincoln, being among the baddest of the presidents, the revered figure who ended slavery and saw the nation through a violent chasm of clashing ideals and brought it back together, would be the choice to hunt vampires if any president was. But Bekmambatov isn’t able to reconcile Lincoln’s stoicism as a character into a sense of irony. There just aren’t enough laughs in this film to remind us that this is a satire, and it instead plays out as an unintentional farce.

It’s certainly an opportunity wasted; in the hands of another director, this could have been quite a hoot, a fun historical horror mashup. Instead, it’s a dreary bore, a film you might see and may not hate, but you won’t like as much as you should.

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22 Responses to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

  1. Kate says:

    When I read about this for the first time, I thought it was a prank. I have always enjoyed yarns about Honest Abe, since I grew up in Indiana, and I love me some vampires. Despite what anyone says, I’ll go see this to feast my eyes upon Rufus Sewell alone!!! He is so freakishly and unassumingly H-O-T!!! Ladies, believe me – he alone will be worth the price of admission!

  2. Michael Hicks says:

    I was excited to see this after the first trailer but the novelty gradually wore off as the release date approached. Thanks for the review.

  3. Lindsay Drews says:

    What! I freakin’ LOVED this movie. lol I must have bad taste! SO BE IT! I loved the historical/fiction/horror mash up. I think Benjamin Walker played the role marvelously and I look forward to seeing him in other roles!

  4. Gabrielle Williams says:

    I agree it is a bore. I give it a 2 out of 5. The only part i liked about it was the ending when Abraham was going to the theater. Henry killed him.

  5. Charlie says:

    I love the trend of historical fiction in film. It is so refreshing and it proves that collectively our country has a sense of humor and a sense of comfort in our national pride. This movie could not have been made in any other era. They would have ran the poor son of a gun out of the meeting room with an idea like this.

  6. Rob B says:

    Not sure how to take this movie. Will probably read the book to prior to watching it. Thanks for the review.

  7. Bob says:

    Hey Whitney I feel the same way……I guess I should of read the book first…… also!!! Still a good movie to get into! Go , have fun and no blood sucking!!!

  8. larry glowner says:

    Sorry to hear its not very good. You are right Joe. they have no idea how great the idea could have been

  9. Dustyn Ogle says:

    I am torn as to whether or not to go see this movie. The previous seem to look pretty good. I just do not know if there would be any way for me to not think it was stupid when making a former president into a Vampire Hunter.

  10. Chukie Nwokorie says:

    This movie was pretty good although, it was hard to get over the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter/slayer! (FICTION I know) But did any of you know that this man (Mr Lincoln – one of Amrericas’ beloved Presidents’, was gay?) Anyway, if you are looking for some entertainment at the box office; this is the movie to go see! You would be pleased at your decision!

  11. lexbyam says:

    I can’t quite make up my mind about this movie. It’s either really going to suck or be awesome.

  12. Stacey says:

    My first impression of the book was it was sacrilegous to do this to Abe, but it turned out to be pretty badass! They changed much of the story when they made the movie, this was aparent even in the previews, but it’s still good. I enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all. I thought it was entertaining and plan on seeing it again. Worth seeing and definitely worth reading!

  13. Holly says:

    As a fan of the book, I was disappointed in the movie. It could have been much more engaging – something the epistolary style of the novel which lends a better understanding of who this version of Lincoln was. By changing it into an overly campy action movie, I think they missed a great opportunity to make a movie that reflected the strong pacing and tone of the book.

  14. Todd Adkins says:

    I really am dumbfounded by the overwhelming amount of negative reviews for this. Complaints along the lines of the movie taking itself too seriously just leave me scratching my head. Let’s see, a movie about our most beloved President secretly learning from a vampire, to hunt vampires – and doing so with axe-wielding skills that would make a ninja jealous…that film takes itself too seriously? I think attempts to bring levity through humor (as suggested) would have ended up looking out of place. I think what makes the movie work is that it is a serious attempt at a story and not just high camp. I will say that I am unfamiliar with the source material, so I went in with zero expectations related to the original graphic novel. That said, I found it to be completely over the top and the most ridiculous movie I may have ever seen — and that it precisely why I totally loved it! It’s just big-dumb-fun, plain and simple. Go in with expectations other than that, and yes, you will be disappointed.

  15. Julie Wakley says:

    I am usually not interested in this type of movie, but I really enjoyed the whole concept of history and vampires intertwined; it was interesting and at the same time enough action to keep my whole family entertained.

  16. John Walczak says:

    As a fan of the book, I was REALLY looking forward to the film. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the movie. I thought the book the a wonderful job of mixing history with fantasy. I felt the movie tried to do that but just could not do enough of what the book did to capture that magic. I felt like the movie just through Abe Lincoln into an incredible vampire story. Dont get me wrong, the story is still good, the effects are amazing, the action is fantastic, and the acting is well done. I guess like all book adaptations, I was left wanting more.

  17. Grant says:

    I read this book a while back and thought it was very good. Not great, but a good mix of history and a story. I was looking forward to seeing this movie, but have since read a lot of terrible reviews that have, as yet, kept me from seeing it. After reading the reviews on this page, I may have to go. Thanks.

  18. Angela Braden says:

    Hmmm….at first I really wanted to see it, just because I’m a history buff, however, after reading Joe’s review, I may save my money for a better film. I’m hoping that maybe there will be a second attempt for directing this film….perhaps M. Night Shyamalan??!!!

  19. Brandon Scales says:

    I went and saw this movie today and thought the idea of the story you know about Abraham Lincoln and adding Vampires to was creative. The movie keeps you interest until the end. It is a must see.

  20. Rory Osborne says:

    I saw this movie & it is really good! It’s amazing how cool this movie was made. Reminds me of Van Helsing!

  21. Whitney says:

    When I first saw an ad for this movie, I just could not connect Abraham Lincoln and vampires, but I guess I should have read the book first. I heard it was just ok but not quite sure I will be going to see it.

  22. Beth P. says:

    I read the book expecting it to be really campy but it played it straight as if it were something that had really happened and was surprisingly good. The previews I’ve seen for the movie seem like it was changed into a flashy action kind of movie. It seems like they took it in the wrong direction but I’m still tempted to go see it.