Based on a novel ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ isn’t as silly as it sounds. While having an abundance of over the top action and appearances from ghoulish foes it takes itself seriously. This is the secret of its success as it allows for full immersion into this strange tale. Using an iconic political figure-head as its hero is a daring stroke although this ethos extends to the overall story of a future President ridding the world of vampiric vermin.
Before becoming the 16th American President Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) held a secret. In his younger years he was a vampire hunter. Protecting his country from the Lords of the un-dead he was helped by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper). Facing an unspeakable evil in the form of Adam (Rufus Sewell) the leader of a cabal of blood suckers, Lincoln forged a bloody path towards a brighter future.
From its opening moments it is clear ‘Lincoln’ is going to be fun but different. For much of its length it is with the script, acting and direction by Timur Bekmambetov portraying events with solid conviction. All have much fun with their fantastical speculation with the blending of fact and fiction well handled. It’s hardly a morose history lesson although the glimpses of reality help in fully fleshing out the characters thereby making the other weird happenings feel genuine.
Nowhere is this more felt than in the battle sequences which are amazingly photographed. Featuring un-dead vs. human soldiers these sequences magnify Lincoln’s endless quest to unite the nation against seemingly unstoppable villains. The several other set pieces are suitably spectacular with the CGI perfectly creating the story’s specific look adding much to the atmosphere. Having a ‘Hammer horror-esque’ mood the horror, action and drama successfully mix in a winning and macabre cocktail.
‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ shows a more avant-garde side to history few may know. The full throttle escapism it provides should raise more than a few cheers as the gung-ho future leader does his work with the movie’s enjoyable flavour not requiring a presidential pardon.
Rating out of 10: 7