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Review: ‘Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter’s’ Outlandish Premise Works

Let’s be honest.  Regardless if you knew about the book or not, you scratched your head when you first heard of the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter film project.  I know I at least did, because the thought of our 16th President as an ax wielding vampire slayer just didn’t add up to me at first.  Even considering it’s unique spin on history I still wanted to check this movie out.  How could I not?  It’s rated R, it has vampires, and a top hat wearing bada*s with an ax.

That sounded like a recipe for success, so I set out yesterday to my local 3D-equipped theater to give this strange movie a look see, and I came away with a surprisingly good feeling about it.  I can tell you that this insane concept actually works, and it works well.  Please continue on down the page to read our full review Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to see if it’s a movie that suits your desires.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

EB 8 out of 10 Buddhas

Should you watch it: YES

Like me I’m guessing many of you have had a hard time imagining Abe Lincoln as anything more than the bearded president who led our country through its darkest period.  Lincoln is definitely a historical figure that didn’t need a special treatment applied to his life’s tale to make him anymore of a legend than he already is, but the whole fictional vampire hunter back story, originally created by Seth Grahame-Smith, actually works really well for Honest Abe.  If you can get past the outlandish concept and just prep your mind for an entertaining movie going experience, I promise you that it’ll pay off in the end.

As I mentioned Vampire Hunter needs to be viewed with an open mind that thirsts for fiction and an entertaining experience at the movies, and not someone who’d rather watch films about our real and depressing world that we live in.  If you enjoy science fiction/horror movies you’ll definitely dig Abe’s stint as a vampire hunter.  To me it had a perfect balance of actual history from that time period mixed in with the supernatural bits that take this historical piece to the next level of pure geek awesomeness.  How can one not like a movie filled with great action sequences that feature an ax wielding Abe Lincoln, who could give Underworld’s Death Dealers a run for their money?

Bring it Selene!

This fact is what made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter so entertaining to me even though it has an odd concept to wrap your head around.  This movie has some great action in it, and best of all the forces in charge of this project were not afraid to dial up the violence to a 10.  From Abe’s first kill to his last I was extremely impressed with the unique kill shots that the director was able to formulate.  My personal favorite also serves as one of the greatest uses of the 3D effect that I’ve ever seen in a movie.  Without spoiling too much of the story’s plot, there’s a scene early on that involves a pistol, someone’s eye, and a first person perspective.  This combination produced a 3D visual effect so realistic that I thought my eye was the one being shot out.  No joke, it was something to experience indeed, and it reinforced my belief that 3D, if done right, can totally enhance the movie going experience.

This scene provided one of the coolest 3D effects I’ve ever seen. 

That headshot scene was fantastic, but the brutality really ramped up once Abe was trained by his mentor Henry to wield an ax as his weapon of choice.  I’m not sure if they used camera trickery in every battle scene, or if Benjamin Walker really took his training seriously, but I’ve never seen an ax more gracefully wielded in battle.  If Walker (he just may be the real deal considering he looks like a young Liam Neeson) really did learn how to twirl an ax as if it were some flag team hippo’s baton, then I wouldn’t want to mess with this dude while he’s chopping firewood.  Maybe it’s because most action movies don’t seem to gravitate to the ax as a weapon, so that made Abe Lincoln’s use of it stand out.  I can tell you though that after the credits rolled I wanted to head to the local hardware store to pick up a new ax, and get to practicing my vampire killing skills immediately!

There’s something graceful, yet terrifyingly awesome, about watching Abe Lincoln slashing through hordes of the dead with the broad strokes of an ax.  This fact really sold this odd movie to me as a bonafide blood filled action flick, and I think other fans of the genre will be equally impressed.  There’s plenty of decapitations, limb loss, and other gruesome kills that will even entertain the most morbid of individual.  If anything Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter works as an action movie with a supernatural twist.

Abe Lincoln is a ninja with an ax!

I’m sure most people who enjoy going to the cinema like more than just good action in their movies, so I’m happy to report that Vampire Hunter does indeed have a worthwhile story to it outside of the obvious violent overtones.  I was surprised to see how much real world history this movie had within it.  Besides the glaring continuity issue of Abe Lincoln being a secretive vampire hunter this movie does a darn good job sprinkling in real world Lincoln moments.

We get to see his years as a burgeoning lawyer, politician, and eventually as President of the United States of America.  There’s even other real world historical figures sprinkled in such as Stephen Douglas, and the South’s very own Jefferson Davis.  I for one thought the whole vampire hunter deal would be a hard sell considering how ingrained Lincoln’s life is to most citizens of this country, but the film’s producers and writers did a great job making it a believable premise.

The movie’s inclusion of actual history actually helps to sell its odd premise.

Unfortunately the fact that this film is based on such a well known real world figure is what ultimately leads to some of its shortcomings.  At times I felt like the director hit the FF button on some scenes causing me to wonder how exactly we just went from point A to point B in the film’s story.  We all know that Lincoln marries Mary Todd, but in the movie she’s someone’s fiancé, and then in the next scene she’s dating Abe.  Before you know it they’re getting married, so the whole process felt like there were a few plot holes that could’ve been filled with a little more explanation of how we ended up where we did in the story.

This same phenomena occurs after Abe decides to put down his ax in favor of his newfound political prowess.  In one scene he’s fighting a vampire in what could be one of the more unique action sequences I’ve ever seen (fighting amongst a horse stampede equals awesome), and then in what seemed like two minutes he’s in the oval office dealing with the Civil War.  These aren’t egregious errors by any means, but the second act of the film does feel a bit rushed, and this could have been prevented by adding in a few extra scenes here and there to help fill in some of these holes.

The plot may have some holes, but this action sequence is one of the most unique I’ve ever seen.

In the end I was extremely pleased with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I went into the film with low expectations, and came out thoroughly entertained.  The whole Abe Lincoln as an ax wielding vampire slayer concept works, and it works well.  This film is full of great action sequences that reminded me of why I love the genre so much.  On top of that it had some supernatural action going on, which is just as entertaining to geeks as solid action movies are.  Vampire Hunter utilized the 3D effect perfectly during these phenomenal action scenes, and the effect definitely made me jump in my seat more than once.  Outside of the crazy idea of having Abe Lincoln as anything more than the 16th Prez, there’s actually a decent time period movie contained within this film.  Sure it has some pacing issues and a few plot holes, but for what it is this movie kicks a*s – literally.

I give it an EB 8 out of 10 Buddhas, and recommend it as a “Must see” movie theater experience, especially in 3D.  There’s just something awesome about watching an already impressive historical figure act like a one man killing machine, when our perception of Lincoln is so different to how he’s showcased in this movie.  Yes, dead presidents can be action heroes, and this movie proved it.  Check out one of its trailers below to get your head wrapped around its unique concept if you’re still not sure if this is a movie for you or not.  And ladies I can tell you that Mrs. Buddha enjoyed it as well, and she usually just goes to films like this to make me happy.  You’ve been thinking of giving this unique take on history a try…

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Red Band Trailer [HD]

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Tags : Abraham Lincoln Vampire HunterBlood and GutsImpressions
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.