Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter seriously serious?

maureen

SPOILER ALERT

Not since Snakes on a Plane has the title of a movie made we want to see it as much as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I got what I expected. I’m not saying I wasn’t entertained. I was. The historical details like Lincoln’s mother dying or his job as a shopkeeper lend enough historical accuracy that it actually makes it harder to suspend disbelief. Suspension of disbelief has no power over this movie. It takes a silver bullet through the brain of reason. Once that’s done, it’s a decent ride.

The vampires are the dark, devouring, bloodsucking villains they are supposed to be. No romance here, just scary bad guys who have the advantage of thousands of years experience in fighting and manipulation. Abe Lincoln is believable in appearance and personality. He reacts in much the way one would expect Abe Lincoln to react if he were confronted with vampires. Abe’s sidekicks are decent.The stage was set for an awesome girl fight but Mary Lincoln was as bland as a hospital diet. That was disappointing.

The plot is pretty standard. Young Abe has an axe to grind with vampire-kind. He meets his Mr. Miyagi in Henry Sturgess, goes through the obligatory training montage, then acts as a sort of hit man, dispensing vampire after vampire until he discovers politics and Mary Todd.

Abe learns that the fate of the nation and the freedom of the slaves is inextricably tied to the ambitions of the Vampire Militia who make their home at Oak Alley Plantation. Abe still thinks he can thwart their evil plan with politics, policies, and war. For half a second I entertained the possibility that the underlying theme of the movie might be that you can’t get rid of society’s evil bloodsuckers with politics. The bloodsuckers do prove hard to kill.

The fight scenes are the best part. I actually saw a couple of moves I’ve never seen before. If there is an award for creative use of horses in an action sequence this one should win.

It’s eventually revealed that the Confederacy is in bed with the Vampire Militia. The vampires infiltrate the White House itself and, under horrendous circumstances, Mary discovers Abe’s secret. At this point  a revised version of Tom Petty’s  Free Fallin’ started playing in my head:

“She’s a good girl, livin in the White House

He’s a killer in a stovepipe’

All the vampires livin with mosquitos

Now march down Pennsylvania Avenue…”

As they plan their million vampire march Abe unpacks his ax and strikes back with a plan involving a train and all the silver in the North. Not to give anything away but the train sequence is one of those awesome scenes that goes on a little too long and becomes funny instead of intense. At least I started giggling about three fourths of the way through. It sort of reminded me of a scene in another vampire movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The one where Pee Wee Herman takes so long to die. But Buffy is more of a spoof. This is something else.

It appears that the filmmakers are serious. The actors certainly played it straight. The action is intense. There’s no humor per se. I guess when you pose an absolutely ridiculous “what if” question like “What if vampires caused the Civil War?” you’d better keep your tongue away from your cheek if you want any sort of audience buy in.


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