Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Based on a book by the same name, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is everything that the Twilight franchise is not. These vampires don’t sparkle; they aren’t “vegetarians”; and they seem capable of showing actual emotions. Director Timur Bekmambetov’s interpretation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s New York Times bestseller is way more exciting than I remember the book ever being as he creates a pace that is fairly consistent with good transitions from the heavy action to the more intimate viewpoint of Lincoln’s personal life and political struggles. The shifts in intensity always occurred around the time I was getting a little tired of the ax slinging and vampire slaying.
The casting in this film was spot-on. Benjamin Walker (Lincoln) practically oozes honesty and good intentions while managing to pretty closely resemble our sixteenth president in physical appearance. Mary Elizabeth Winstead pulls off the defiantly demure Mary Todd Lincoln, and the rest of the cast pulls their weight in this historically fictitious vampire thriller. None of the performances were particularly outstanding, but they didn’t suck either.
While I admit that I am not a fan of the 3-D gimmick, it needs to be said that the added dimension here is completely unnecessary. The cinematography of the film flows well with the historical setting and uses plenty of sepia tones. The special effects are pretty smooth and involve a lot of gushing blood and vampires losing various limbs in incredibly gruesome ways. As with other Bekmambetov’s movies, the action sequences have occasional slow-mo moments that break up the pacing of the action in a good way. My one issue with the story is the lack of any notable humor; those lighthearted moments in the script aren’t always enough to fully break up the onslaught of violent killings.
This is probably one of the best book-to-film adaptations I’ve seen in a while. The film takes the gist of the novel and improves on the things that don’t work as well (specifically the pacing). Clearly, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t meant to be any sort of biopic about the real Lincoln and takes some (ok, maybe a lot) of liberties with the history of the Civil War. Regardless, the film is enjoyable, especially if you like the idea of an ax-slinging, vampire-slaying Abraham Lincoln.