What the hell are the film makers going for with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? That’s the question that kept running through my mind as I watched the film. Scene after scene went by, and I still hadn’t a clue as to what the film’s focus was. Is it a refresher on American history? Is it supposed to be scary? Is it supposed to build up the legend of Abe Lincoln? I’ve seen the film and I’m still not sure what it’s supposed to be, but I can tell you what it isn’t: a good movie.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter follows the life of Abe (Benjamin Walker) from a small child, through his presidency, to his death. There are a few deviations from the facts, like the addition of being a vampire hunter and the occasional flubbing of historically accurate details. Now, Abe being a vampire hunter may sound really cool in theory, but it wasn’t translated well onto the big screen. Like I said earlier, the focus was all over the place, leaving the audience feeling nothing about the movie. There was no horror, no joy, nothing to laugh at, no investment in anything. You recognize a few of the cool effects or events happening on the screen but it doesn’t evoke any emotional response from you.
There were a few decent action scenes, and the finale delivers more than a handful of thrills. Abe and his right hand men Wil (Anthony Mackie) and Joshua (Jimmi Simpson) embark on a journey by train to deliver silver bullets and weapons to the Union army, and along the way some vampire no-goodniks decide to crash the party. The action was fast and interesting, utilizing the setting, a moving train, to do some very cool things. The story even took a slightly interesting turn, but at that point it was too little, too late. That was the only few minutes of the whole film I found myself actually entertained by the movie and not bored or confused as to where it was going. If only the whole film had been more like that finale, it would have been much better. This is one vampire film that should’ve stayed in its coffin.
Action rating: two barking picnic baskets out of five.
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