FORGET Blade and Buffy. In the 1800s it was all about Abraham Lincoln the vampire slayer. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter provides an alternate history to the sixteenth President of the United States and is based on the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride, Prejudice and Zombies). After his mother (Aussie Robin McLeavy) is killed by a vampire when he’s a boy, Abe Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) sets out to rid the country of the growing vampire threat. What starts out as a personal journey of revenge soon morphs into something much larger as Abe is taken under the tutelage of the mysterious Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper). The vampires have laid claim to the South and are using slavery as a full-proof food source, leading Abe on a bloody quest to the White House.
This isn’t the first time director Timur Bekmambetov (try saying that name three times fast) has tackled the supernatural as he made a name for himself with the impressive Night and Day Watch films. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t as exciting as those, but it’s no snooze-fest either. Although produced by Tim Burton, his impact is invisible outside of some of the more lavish visuals. Henry Jackman’s score is astounding and one that definitely needs to be added straight into your personal collection.
The real star is Benjamin Walker, who has been plucked from relative obscurity to fill the role of Abe. He has been compared to the likes of Liam Neeson, which is high praise well-deserved thanks to his powerful and simmering performance. The supporting cast too is very strong, namely Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Jimmi Simpson and Rufus Sewell, who plays the villain almost as often as Mark Strong now. The weak link is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Abe’s special lady friend Mary Todd. The contrived portrayal is a rare misstep for the usually strong actress.
The costumes and gadgetry provide a steampunk-like quality to the film, but the over-reliance of slow motion takes a sense of urgency out of the action. A shout out needs to be given to the ridiculously amusing horse fight scene, yup, you heard correct. Abe and one of the key villains swap swords for, well, horses in an action sequence that’s pretty enjoyable if you can suspend disbelief (if you’re walking into a movie titled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter then you probably can).
It’s not without it’s problems – the odd pacing and strange palette two of the more obvious – but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is better than some of the other summer blockbusters out at the moment – namely The Amazing Spider Man and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz
Directed: Timur Bekmambetov
Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay), Seth Grahame-Smith (novel)
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is released nationally on the 2nd of August 2012.
Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 15 years.
Her best-selling debut novel Who's Afraid? was published in 2016, followed by its sequel Who’s Afraid Too? in 2017, which was nominated for Best Horror Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2018. Who’s Afraid? is being developed for television by the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Hoodlum Entertainment. Her Young Adult debut, It Came From The Deep, was released globally on October 31, Halloween, 2017 and is a twist on The Little Mermaid meets Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Her fourth book, The Witch Who Courted Death, was released on Halloween, 2018 and nominated for Best Fantasy Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2019. Her fifth novel set within the share supernatural universe is due for release in October, 2019.