Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter REVIEW
Release Date: 20 June 2012
15 | 105 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, Jimmi Simpson
Rarely has a film’s title promised so much, but delivered so little. Sure, sixteenth President of the United States Abraham Lincoln does indeed hunt vampires in this mega-bucks adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s clever-clever novel, but the giddy fun implied by that preposterous moniker is missing in this almost entirely humourless affair.
Benjamin Walker dons top hat and chin strap as honest Abe – tormented since youth by the knowledge his mother was drained by a man he later learns is a vampire. Trained to hunt Southern bloodsuckers with a shiny silver axe by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper, who, along with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, gives a spirited performance) Abe embarks on a mission to avenge his mother, stop plantation-owning uber-vamp Adam (Rufus Sewell) and put an end to generations of slavery.
All of this plays out with laughable sincerity, with none of the lightness of touch director Timur Bekmambetov exhibited in his previous films, Wanted and Night Watch. The performances are equally earnest and dull, a fault not of the actors but a script which opens with a passage from Genesis 17:5 and continues with pompous period dialogue that never once raises a smile.
The film is at its best in the more intimate moments of horror early on, but its signature setpieces – a vamp fight amidst stampeding horses and a siege aboard a moving train – are a mess of slow-mo CGI, garish colour palettes and muddy visuals.
Great title, shame about the film.
Watch the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer.
Watch some axe action in a Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter clip.
Read more of our film reviews.