When you go to see a movie with the title Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, you have to go in with the understanding that it’s an absurd premise, and be ready to embrace the ridiculous with a sense of fun and frivolity. This is how I approached this film, and amazingly, it still managed to be bad. This film is based on a surprisingly compelling novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, so it was encouraging that he was credited as writing the screenplay. But to the disappointment of anyone who read and enjoyed the book, the film is completely different.
A period piece- especially an absurd reinterpretation period piece- is only fun when you bother to play by the rules of that period. But Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a film that takes place in the 1800s where characters sports matrix style sunglasses, hair gelled to perfection in modern styles, and apparently Honest Abe only had one child- not four. Seriously? Vampires aside, the movie is about Abe Lincoln, they could have least bothered to get that right. They managed to get all of it right in the book, so it’s confusing to see why it was tossed aside for the film. You don’t need to be a historian to catch the sloppy history. This film actually managed to insult my 7th grade understanding of the Civil War… and geography.
Overall the movie is too lazy to be any fun. The feeling is one of going to the Renaissance Faire and seeing the Black Knight texting on his phone. I just couldn’t enjoy the absurdity of the premise because they didn’t bother to play by the rules of the time period- even a little. During the action scenes, I felt like I should be enjoying it, yet I couldn’t because the characters were so unrealistic and unappealing. There was simply too much swept under the rug, sloppy character development with scenes patched together without any explanation. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should have been more fun that it was, so if you’re looking to experience this story, save yourself the disappointment and read the book.
By Magdalen O’Reilly