After watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, my husband commented that I shouldn’t post a review, rather to save my reviews for good films that I can recommend viewing. But a reviewer doesn’t have that option. Roger Ebert wrote reviews for bad films. There was that whole thumbs up, thumbs down routine for him and Gene Siskel, so I feel I have a responsibility to post reviews even about films that don’t live up to expectations.
We had this film delivered from Netflix for some Halloween fun, and just got around to seeing it the other night. A film from 2012, it is rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality. I was not familiar with any of the actors, director or writers (sorry!), although noticed that Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas and various off beat Johnny Depp films) was one of the producers. Obviously, it is pure fiction; vampires don’t exist, and Lincoln was not a sworn enemy of vampires.
But I appreciated the film for a few reasons. As a screenwriter, I admired how snippets of historical information that were true served as the starting point for fictional situations involving vampires. There seemed to be a comparison in the film with vampires and Confederates. Vampires, if they did exist, are pure evil (unless you’ve watched True Blood, then not so much). And one could say that the Confederates, in favor of slavery, and who used and abused people through slavery, are evil too.
In this story, vampires were paired with the Confederates, even meeting with Jefferson Davis, and of course Lincoln and his aides were with the Union. My husband said that he feared that younger people, given what we’ve heard is a sad state of affairs these days in school with not enough history being taught, might not even know that much about Lincoln and the period of the Civil War, and what it meant to the United States. A good place to begin would be to read A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.
There are some action packed sequences, with some kung fu type fighting, and a tension producing train ride, all very well executed on screen. The film held our attention right from the very beginning, and we never once suggested turning it off, which we have done when a movie is so bad we just can’t waste our time.
My favorite quote from the film: “Until every man is free, we are all slaves.” And a clever graphic at the end may remind you of the bloodshed that brought the country together to the 50 states it is today.
I think teenage boys would like this story. And it is said that most Hollywood produced movies are for that teen boys group. Basically, if you like vampires, really well choreographed fight scenes, and spectacular chase scenes, yes to this film. But if you are offended by the thought of Abraham Lincoln being cast as a hunter of vampires, don’t rent it.