A film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Tim Burton is bound to be stylish. Bekmambetov made the super successful Russian horror film, Night Watch and his Wanted starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman about some bizarre killing club was all stylish and super gory. Tim Burton has been the sultan of quirky style since Beetlejuice right down to his latest offering, Dark Shadows, earlier this year.
With a title like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and these two men associated with the project, you might be forgiven for expecting some cool kookie fun. Unfortunately, the movie takes itself too seriously and the two genres of monster movie and historical don’t blend into a harmonious whole — there are just too many disparate elements.
Based on a book by the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith who also wrote the screenplay, the movie tells of Abraham Lincoln who finds out that the United States is about to be taken over by vampires. His fight against slavery is actually a battle with the vampires, who keep slaves as food — it is creepily unsettling to have otherworldly creatures blamed for slavery.
Like Wanted, Vampire Hunter also featured loads of slo mo, gore, violence, trajectory of bullets being followed in loving detail and an incredible sequence featuring a train (that alone is worth the price of the ticket).
Cast wise, Dominic Cooper as Henry Sturgess, Lincoln's mentor in vampire hunting, is cool and wickedly handsome, while Rufus Sewell who one remembers from the mind altering Dark City is the blood thirsty vampire chief Adam — the first vampire, get it? Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln looking quite glum.
Conspiracy theorists can have a field day with Lincoln’s vampire targets — a chemist and a banker among others are definitely metaphorical blood suckers. The stunts are good and the 3D adds another dimension of gore to the proceedings. It just isn’t engaging enough.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas
Storyline: The 16th President of the United States must save the world from rapacious vampires
Bottomline: Not as cool as it sounds