A well-respected, dignified president living a double-life as a slayer of the undead is actually a much more appealing plotline than one would expect. In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) reveals a part of his life the history books seemed to skip over: the part where he devotes his life to killing plantation-owning vampires, and stopping them from overrunning the United States government in the battle of Gettysburg! Although at first the idea might sound ridiculous (ha), the movie pulls it off through quality filming and action shots. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) delivers many outstanding action sequences between Lincoln and the vampires. (Scenes between Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), however, were less engaging.)
The film was fast paced with lots of twists, and was probably the most exciting history lesson I’ve ever had. I can’t say I was bored for a second, from the start where Lincoln is a young boy, to finish as he rides on his carriage to the theatre where he was assassinated. Quite a few moments in which vampires leapt out of the darkness at Lincoln made me actually jump, and the action kept me on the edge of my seat. One of the characters I guarantee you will become attached to is Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie), Lincoln’s childhood best friend. He gives such an honest performance and really makes his character come to life, always being there to help Lincoln destroy the undead and act as his lovable sidekick. Although I found it strange that everyone in the movie seemed to easily accept the existence of vampires, I guess it’s better than watching Lincoln explain to every character what’s going on and try to convince them. It kept the film moving along, but it wasn’t entirely believable.
Another part of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter that stood out to me was the Civil War battle scenes. It showed you the Union soldiers’ perspective as hoards of Confederate vampire-soldiers rushed at them only to disappear and kill them from behind. It makes you question what really happened in the Civil War for a just a moment... Overall, the movie was a wonderfully imaginative take on American history, and I’m looking for another like it. Seth Grahame-Smith (formerly Seth Greenberg) wrote both the novel and the screenplay, and I’m excited to read the book while I wait for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to hit theatres in 2013. Oh, and there’s no doubt that Abraham Lincoln is and always will be my favorite president. :)