I’m beginning to wonder if creating the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves was Abraham Lincoln’s greatest achievement or whether slaying hordes of vampires is really the reason we ought to be honoring this most celebrated past US president. While the Battle of Gettysburg weighed heavily on his mind, according to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter his biggest battle was when he was cornered in a southern mansion teaming with blood suckers and managed to slay dozens of them in gravity defying leaps and lurches. I think my history books skipped that part.
The movie is basically the life of Abe (Benjamin Walker) reimagined, focusing on his trials and tribulations from boyhood right up to the fateful night he goes to his last theater show. Historical aspects including the American Civil War and the underground railroad are the background but his secret life as a vampire hunter (and a good one at that) form the core of the film.
His secret vocation is nurtured after being attacked by a vampire (who consequently was responsible for Abe’s mother’s death) and being taken under the watchful eye of Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) a man who coaches and leads other disparate reclusive hunters. Beginning as a meager store clerk, Lincoln ascends to becoming a lawyer and eventually seeks office. All the while he surreptitiously learns the craft of vampire hunting and the necessary weapon training skills. He falls for and eventually weds Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) but, for the most part, manages to hide his true calling from her.
I thought this was going to be just a slipshod production vying for audience dollars in the twilight of the …um Twilight craze. Instead I found it to be quite entertaining, managing to balance a quaint love story while still delivering the excitement of good old fashion bloodsucker mayhem.
Sure you have to suspend a little belief and adapt to a few new rules. Vampire’s cannot kill each other, daylight just brings out the glow of vampire’s rosy cheeks, and silver now kills vampires instead of werewolves. But hey what did you expect? The title pretty much says it all. I wonder if we’ll get to see Franklin Roosevelt: Werewolf Trapper next? It would still be better than that Twilight dreck.