WRETCHED REVIEWS: ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (2012)
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
Starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper and Rufus Sewell
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Written by Seth Grahame-Smith
20th Century Fox
Much like the founding father himself, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is as honest a title as any movie has ever had. Indeed, if you give yourself up to its sheer ridiculousness then you’ll have a great time in the theatre. If you are especially fond of the laws of physics or decide to tsk-tsk the assorted clunkers that litter Seth Grahame-Smith’s script – which he adapted from his own book – then you’ll likely shake your head in disbelief and wonder how many Duplass Brothers films the budget could have covered. To you I say fuck off.
At this point director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Nightwatch) has proven himself to be an eccentric and exciting visual stylist, and he has great fun turning America’s tenth president into an axe-wielding hero out to avenge his mother’s death at the hands (fangs?) of a bloodsucker. Star Benjamin Walker mainly lets his makeup and wardrobe do the acting as Honest Abe, whose rise to the highest office in the land coincides with his night-time career under the tutelage of good vamp Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper). Rufus Sewell (Dark City) is appropriately menacing as Adam, the über-vamp determined to give “his people” a country of their very own under the guise of the Civil War.
Of course Bekmambetov stages some exciting and inventive action sequences, downplaying any real horror, despite its R rating. The cast, meanwhile, gamely commits to delivering some outrageous dialogue howlers, as screenwriter Grahame-Smith uses iconography from Lincoln’s career – his stump speeches, the war, his son’s death – to advance the plot. It’s beyond over-the-top and amazingly brave to allow a filmmaker to go exactly where the script and his own sense of style takes him.