Directors: Timur Bekambetov
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell
Twentieth Century Fox
YOU’VE got to respect a film whose title has no misconceptions about what it’s all about. As you may have already guessed, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter follows the fictional historical revisionism that tells a very different tale about the 16th president of the United States of America, Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln.
The respective zany and highly stylised tendencies of director Timur Bekambetov (Wanted) and producer Tim Burton (Mars Attacks!) unite in complementary ways to create a film that balances fun, horror, action and even a healthy dose of historical accuracy (vampires notwithstanding) to create a mature and entertaining romp from start to finish that really works, most of the time.
As a boy, Abraham Lincoln witnesses the murder of his mother at the hands of a slave-trading vampire. Years later and consumed by revenge, a drunk Lincoln confronts his mother’s murderer and is almost killed, save for the timely intervention of Henry Sturges (Cooper). Sturges takes Lincoln under his wing and trains him in the axe-wielding art of vampire slaying.
Lovers of traditional pre-Twilight vampires can rest assured that Vampire Hunter is a return to form for the blood-sucking mythical beasts, which are actually rather intimidating in their presentation and actions. And as Lincoln gains confidence by slaying vampires by night, he slowly takes an interest in national politics by day, becoming the man that can be known from the history books.
Except for a few scenes in the middle of the film that slow down the pacing and forget the preceding fun, Abraham Lincoln is an absolute riot. The action is engrossing, the comedic beats work well and, refreshingly, the 3D presentation is actually worth paying the surcharge for because of the clever foreground visual techniques employed to add depth to action sequences and the fact that it actually adds a layer of immersion to this historical fantasy world.
The title of the film is partially ridiculous for a reason: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and in those few scenes where it takes itself too seriously, it suffers for it. But outside of this, the film is a hell of a lot of self-aware fun from start to finish that’s well worth the price of admission.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER is in cinemas on the 2nd of August.
Review: Nathan Lawrence