Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
So I finally got myself to the theater and saw it today. SPOILERS: Honest Abe is a Vampire Slayer! Shocker, I know. I mean, that's what we came to see right? But was it a good movie, hell, even a great movie?
Okay, so I got more spoilers for you...read on if you care.
I had fun. I give it that much. I enjoyed the fuck out of it, mostly because I put my brain in a jar. Seriously, it's the only way you can watch this movie, or else all the continuity errors, the cliche special effects, and more start getting to you.
|Show that tree who's boss Abe!|
Let me first get into the "historical fiction" aspect of this movie, because this is a big chunk of the film. This is probably one of it's big failures too. There are three kinds of story devices that I think they tried to use in this film, but if they settled on one, maybe it would have been a better film. But because this film was piece of Swiss cheese story wise, it has so many holes it's laughable.
ONE: What I like to refer to as Hand Wave-ium. They always start with a concept. A "What If" scenario. For example: "What if Freddy fought Jason?" In this movie's case, "What if Lincoln fought vampires?" I know this movie is based off a book, but the book was based off this premise. I haven't read it myself, but I know enough to know that is how the book was born. With the idea of "What if." You can tell by the title alone how this story is formed. Now, you can argue most stories start this way, but what I am getting at is most stories aren't one trick ponies. And it's really hard to make a convincing historical fiction based around a one trick pony idea. This movie fails in this regard because of this. It's based around a one trick pony idea that they try to pad out with other things.
TWO: I call this Balls To The Wall, but it's usually referred to as divergent history. This is where you say, "I know this isn't historically accurate and I don't really want it to be. But I will do enough research to make it believable so you'll buy my world-building." I did this in my short piece I set in a fantastical-pulp-1920's. I made a gumshoe tale that just happened to have magical critters walking about as if they had always been there. I never explained when they showed up or why. The point was they were there in that time period. This takes A LOT of research to pull off right. This movie, doesn't do enough research. Not sure if the book is anything like this, and sure, I'm a Canadian saying this. But we are taught American history in our schools. We learn all about the great presidents, so I know enough to know when a film is being lazy with it's history. They choose to focus too much on Hand Wave-ium and not enough on making this a divergent history.
THREE: The third I like to call The Bubble-verse story. They could have done this story more justice by placing this story in it's own bubble. Just narrowing everything down so we are in one moment at a time. Not spanning an entire country, while dealing with the story of the slaves, while dealing with Abraham Lincoln's life story, while dealing with vampires! A good movie that does a great example of this is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The story is just encapsulated in it's own little bubble. Everything happens within this small space of time, place and setting, and thus is easier for us to believe as an audience what is happening. At first, the story of Abe Lincoln kinda feels like this. We get Abe's childhood, watching his mom die to a vampire, and how he becomes a slayer, and all this I could buy. It feels like it's a bubble world then, and we aren't forced to try and follow too many plot points all at once.
But then things fall apart in the third act of the film.
|Look out behind you!|
And let's not forget the stupid effects they used to make the vampires Ooo scary, and the bad slow motion for every damn fight scene, or the heavy handed "Abe freed the slaves" message...
Now I get they were trying to play up the whole, "AMERICA FUCK YEAH! ABE IS GONNA KILL THE MOTHER FUCKING VAMPS YEAH!" But if they just focused on that, and not tried to get into every aspect of the Abraham Lincoln myth, maybe the film would have been better. As it was, it was stupidly awesome because Abe does kill vamps, and they play it all straight. That made even the bad parts fucking funny. I laughed out loud at some of the scenes, like when his wife mows down the female vampire. It's the only scene in the movie when a women gets to do anything, but honestly, in that time period women weren't people either so whatever.
|OM NOM NOM HUMANS ARE TASTY!|
And what was with giving the main vamp bad guys punk deaths? SERIOUSLY. They die like chumps at the end, but then again, once the war starts happening the movie is trying to rush to the big final battle on the train. It's like after Abe fights the main vampires in New Orleans the movie decides then to blow it's load and just make a mess of things. The plot goes all over the place, and they can't seem to weave the politics part into the film in any coherent way.
|Axe me a question, and I'll tell you no lies!|
All and all, would I recommend it? Only if you are hungry for a ham sandwich of a good time. Don't expect the plot to have any baring in history, or reality. Don't expect True Blood vampires or special effects that make sense. Don't expect Abe Lincoln to be a good actor. He's kinda Meh on screen. It delivers on the Abe Lincoln being a slayer part. I can tell you that much. But I think I laughed at it more because of it's stupidity than anything else. It's high budget cheese folks.