Mr. Movie: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,' vampires suck, movie doesn't

June 22, 2012 

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

A little known fact about our 16th president. Honest Abe killed vampires for a living before becoming a not-so-successful lawyer, failed politician and businessman and then U.S. President. And it also turns out, a vampire infestation may be the real reason for the U.S. Civil War.

Didn’t know that didja?

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s original novel. Grahame-Smith -- who penned this screenplay and the screenplay for the recent version of Dark Shadows -- teams with director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted). They neatly wrap issues like slavery and the politics and social norms of the era into this well-done but predictable horror movie.

These vampires -- unlike some popular movies and TV shows -- have a serious bite and are dealt with in superb blood-drenched slow-motion and fast-motion action sequences.

Lincoln -- in Grahame-Smith’s imagination -- saw his mother killed by a vampire and vows revenge. Played by Benjamin Walker, Lincoln later meets Dominic Cooper’s (My Week with Marilyn) Henry Sturgess who teaches him how to kill the blood suckers.

In the middle is a muddled love story and other twists on the famous president’s life and his times. Much of the humor and the irony will be lost on those not up on their Abe Lincoln and Civil War lore.

Not that it matters. What really matters is that Lincoln whacks and hacks the vampires in most creative ways and has the usual narrow brushes with death always seen in such fare.

But that’s the format. That’s what you expect. Actually, nothing in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a surprise or surprising other than it ending up a better movie than you expect.

The film does leave you with one puzzle. And it is something profound. Something you’ll want to think about for awhile. A long while.

Maybe Lincoln started a tradition and the war against vampires continues today and the war is just not public knowledge. That could explain much of the nation’s current economic and political ills. Modern presidents and a hard-working Congress busy hunting vampires don’t have time to curb spending, balance budgets, solve tax issues, create jobs and win the war on terrorism.

Duh. Of course. Now that we see what’s really going on, it’s sooooooo obvious.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Martin Scokas
Rated R for blood, gore, brief nudity and mature themes. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service