Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper and Anthony Mackie
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted)
Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality

    When novelist Seth Grahame-Smith’s first mash-up was released (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) it seemed like a joke was being made, but then it became a joke that many readers wanted in on.  Then came his novel about our 16th president who doubles as a vampire killer and suddenly Hollywood came a knocking.  You might think that this attempt at humor and horror is very tongue in cheek, and you’d be correct, but behind it all lies an extremely entertaining movie. 

    Vampire Hunter follows young Abe, who as a boy saw his mother killed by a vampire.  Once he became a man, according to this take on history, he went after the vamp that killed his mother and upon losing the battle, vowed to commit his life to the destruction of the vampire species. 

    As I write this description of the film, I feel the silliness pour over me, but yet going in to the movie with an open mind, I found myself enjoying it immensely.  There is just enough actual history thrown in to make you explore wikipedia for an hour after the movie.  And while much liberty was taken, the vampiric events were cleverly disguised.  And that creativity is part of what makes this movie so interesting. 

    What makes this film work isn’t the gimmick though; its the product of finding the perfect director.  Bekmambetov’s films have always been visual masterpieces and Lincoln is his best to date.  His vision for the film takes what seems on the outside like a joke and instead becomes one heck of a thrill ride.  And the production team assembled here tells a story that is as visually exciting as it is cheesy.

    With a very few exceptions, 3D in movies is completely wasted and just a way for the studios to take in premium bucks for mediocre fare.  That is not the case here.  The 3D in this film is spectacular.  It adds such an incredible element to the movie that I will go as far as to say the film shouldn’t be seen in 2D.

    So this weekend is a strange one in that I fully expected Brave to be one of the better films to be released this year and I figured Vampire Hunter would be forgettable.  After seeing the two films, I can admit I was wrong on both accounts.  While Lincoln is not by any stretch a terrific film, it is an outstanding way to spend two hours during the summer.  B