Earlier this yeah I went to Kapow Comic Convention in Islington and I loved every minute of it. While I was there I saw Rufus Sewell present some clips from his then upcoming film – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. From these few little sneaky peaks and what I’d seen in the trailer I was quite excited to go and see it. But, as so often happens, I missed it at the cinema so when I was asked to review the dvd release I was looking forward to it. My review can be found on Filmwerk.
With a name like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter I was fully expecting a film with its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek. Although I’ve not read the back of the same name I have read a couple of these other mash up titles that made their way to the mainstream not too long ago; with the likes of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. So was pretty sure I knew what I was letting myself in for.
With every other movie featuring vampires at the moment we are fully aware of all the rules surrounding them; drink blood, can’t touch silver, adverse to sunlight right? Wrong. Apparently those pesky 19th century vampires didn’t mind a bit of a tan. Plus, Rufus Sewell, who plays Adam – the villain of the piece, looks pretty bored through the entirety of the picture. Although, if he wasn’t as ridiculously unused he may seem a little more interested in being there.
The fight scenes are ludicrously convoluted and ridiculously CGI heavy meaning I didn’t really care about the outcome. Personally, when I see a train on a burning bridge I want to physically feel the peril creep along the back of my neck but this didn’t even raise half a tingle out of me. The excessive effects meant no scenes were charged by any sense of real danger, Abe’s axe wielding fell a bit flat and the act of storytelling was totally obscured.
Not everything about this film is bad mind you. Ben Walker makes a credible, heroic Lincoln, there are a few lines thrown in for laughs and it managed to solicit a smile out of me more than once. The light-hearted parody I expected; it certainly wasn’t, but it wasn’t nearly as awful as it had the potential to be either. It relied far too much on the nuances of a superhero/comic book film but didn’t really have the story to fill them out and often felt like a lazy fall back rather than fleshing it out as a stand-alone story.
The trailer definitely took the best parts of this film and spun it in a far more preferable light than it should.
Have you seen this film? Have you read the book? What did you think?