'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Review: Limp Horror/History Misses Jugular

Among other unfortunate things, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" must be the crummiest-looking big-budget movie of the year to date.

The picture has the flat lighting of a TV soap opera, and its effects—brazenly fakey landscapes under highly unlikely skies—might have been devised by a small child with a birthday watercolor set.

Also problematic is the film’s star, Benjamin Walker, a well-regarded stage actor who’s too bland here—and, worse, a bit too Randy-Quaid-like—to really work the stovepipe hat of our sixteenth president.

The Lincoln we have in this telling, of course, is more than just the log-chopper and Great Emancipator of history: he’s a scourge of the legions of vampires who infest his young country (with a heavy concentration in the Old South). This cute idea is the work of screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, adapting his own novel, which was itself a sequel to his breakthrough stunt, the 2009 "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

The movie might have been better with a bit more humor—well, intentional humor—of the sort that would seem to be inherent in the story’s smart-aleck concept. But Kazakhstani director Timur Bekmambetov is not a man to whom one goes for sly wit. Best known for his sprawling Russian vampire films "Night Watch" and "Day Watch," and for the amusingly excessive Angelina Jolie vehicle "Wanted," Bekmambetov is a filmmaker for whom too much can never begin to be enough, and he pulls out every available stop for the two most imaginative sequences here—a wild chase staged amid a thundering horse stampede and a raging confrontation aboard a train racing across a burning railroad bridge.

Read the full review at Reason.com


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