Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter explores the secret life of our greatest president, and the untold story that shaped our nation. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Director of Wanted) bring a fresh and visceral voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history's greatest hunter of the undead.
Many modern genre movies have developed a worrisome postmodern tic, often rushing to point out their own ridiculousness before the audience even gets a chance to get swept up and taken in. The historical monster mash Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
is profoundly silly--even sillier, possibly, than the title suggests--but it conducts itself with an admirably straight face. Seth Grahame-Smith's script (based on his own novel) finds the Young Mr. Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) set on a path of righteous vengeance after watching his mother get fatally fanged. As he studies the law and woos the ravishing Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by day, the nights find him throwing down with an unending army of the undead. When he discovers the plot of a master vampire (the excellently dry Rufus Sewell) to conquer the United States, he makes the fateful decision to throw his hat (and silver-bladed ax) into the ring of national politics. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted
, the Night Watch
series) brings a wide-eyed fervor to the material, offering tantalizing hints of a larger mythology while also glorying in the wonky kineticism of the plentiful action sequences. (He's aided in his mission by legendary cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, who gives the images an old-timey View-Master texture.) Scholars of the historical record may well develop the vapors, but for susceptible viewers, the film's wink-free approach and exceedingly game performers make it frightfully easy to sit back, switch off, and bask in its poker-faced outrageousness. Many movies have had somebody thrown by a horse; this movie has a bad guy pick up a horse and throw it at the hero. Brothers and Sisters, there is a difference. --Andrew Wright