Posted July 5, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Movies/TV

MOVIE REVIEW: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

This review has no spoilers. Well, maybe it does, for people who have never heard of Abraham Lincoln. (Spoiler: He was a president and he’s dead now. Or stroking his beard in your closet if you’re a vampire, ’cause that’s how he rolls.)
20th Century Fox
Philippine Release: July 4, 2012
Rated R-13
105 minutes
Check out Linkin Park’s new song for this film here, and watch the trailer here.

I never really got the point of creative reinterpretations of historical events. Maybe it’s because I’m a hollow, empty human being with absolutely no concept of fun (spoiler: that is absolutely not true),  but I’ve always had a hard time feeling any kind of excitement for books like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Truth be told, I haven’t read it, and maybe I should. The point is, when I first heard about this movie last year, I didn’t really feel excited about it at all.

 I think THIS would have excited me, though.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter adapts the eponymous book by Seth-Grahame Smith. Of course, by “eponymous” I mean the “Abraham Lincoln” part of the title, and not the “Vampire Hunter” part.

Though it WOULD be cool to name my kid “Vampire Hunter” someday. Maybe.

No? Okay.


The film tells the story of one of the United States’ most beloved Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, filling in the gaps and important events in his history with blood, fangs and no glitter and sparkles whatsoever. The film stars Benjamin Walker in the title role, Dominic Cooper as Abe’s mentor, Henry Sturgess, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln. The film also features Marton Csokas as Lincoln’s most hated vampire, Jack Barts, and Rufus Sewell as the big boss of all the vampires, Adam. Of course, Lincoln gets by with a little help from his friends – Will Johnson, played by Anthony Mackie, and Joshua Speed, played by Jimmi Simpson.

I can’t really say much about the acting – most of the cast did an okay job, I guess, and the vampires were genuinely creepy, especially whenever they’d bare their fangs and hiss for no reason instead of just going ahead and biting people. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was an absolute pleasure to look at, and Dominic Cooper did a fine job as a grim and sarcastic mentor figure for Abraham.

Even though he kept reminding me of that dude from Savage Garden.

“Vampires, Henry? I know that it might sound more than a little crazy, but I believe…”

The true star of this movie, though, is without a doubt Benjamin Walker. He delivered a powerful and convincing performance as Honest Abe. You can’t help but feel that you owe it to the man to stop everything you’re doing and listen to him speak about how he’d been killing vampires four score and seven years ago or something to that effect. At times I wasn’t even sure if it was still his voice I was hearing or if they got an amazing Lincoln soundalike and dubbed over his speeches. This guy’s got a background in theatre acting, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was really his well-modulated voice. Plus, he’s totally badass with that axe of his. Between him and the Huntsman, I’d go with this guy.

“This is a Tim Burton movie?! Oh my god, that means I’m Johnny Depp!”

As I’ve said earlier, the film (and the book, I’m assuming) takes noteworthy events from Lincoln’s history and ties them in with vampires. Deaths, battles, and even the issue of slavery were all explained as vampire-related (in varying degrees), which isn’t surprising, since that IS the selling point of this story, and the reason why it exists in the first place. The action scenes were well-choreographed and timed, and the climax, while a little drawn-out, had a nice twist that will pleasantly surprise even the people who have already read the book.

Watch this movie if you want to see non-sparkly vampires…and if you need a dessert of sorts after a rather excellent main course. It’s just like eating cheesecake after a fancy dinner – it’s not exactly memorable, and it won’t radically alter your perception of what happened on your dinner date, but it’s light and delightful, and you can’t go wrong with it. I’m giving this movie a 7.5/10.

Just don’t go out sucking the blood out of people after this one. Honest Abe seems to be REALLY good with that axe.

Mikael Angelo Francisco