[Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter]
Synopsis:Based on the Seth Grahame-Smith novel. When President Lincoln's mother is killed by a supernatural creature (vampire). It fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.

Cast:Benjamin Walker, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jimmi Simpson, Robin McLeavy, Rufus Sewell, Alan Tudyk.

My Thoughts:An interesting chapter in American history?

Review:So apparently, during those days when there was slavery in America, and the civil war was brewing between the North and The South, and Abraham Lincoln was trying to free the slaves as his platform of running for president? Apparently...vampires were the "real" evil behind the slave trade. Go figure eh? At least "this" movie puts forth that little "twist" on American history. Based on the book by Seth Grahame Smith, "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" the film...was directed by Timur Bekmambetov. And begins when honest Abe (Walker) was a child.

His father crossed a slave owning vampire, and the vampire repaid his vengeance style, by father by killing his Mother. Now...Abe has grown up. In particular, one named Jack Barts (Csokas). The vampire/slave owner who murdered his mother. Abe fails at his first attempt to kill Barts, which is when he learns that Jack isn't exactly "human". After that, Abe hooks up with a hunter named Henry (Cooper). Who trains him in the art of fighting and doing battle with vampires.

Now...armed with these news skills, Abraham has made it his mission to kill ALL vampires. Starting with Jack. I was a bit iffy on this film going in. Anytime a horror film blends American History with horror elements, it usually turns out to be subpar, or a total disaster. This movie however did a pretty good job! The best thing it has going in its favor though, is the directing. It's very sharp, and very crisp. Bekmambetov manages to capture all the action in the film perfectly.

While giving the characters a great lens to work through as far as reaching the audience as beyond-one-dimensional players. The cast is also full of solid acting talent. Walker isn't widely know to this genre. But Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Abe's love interest in the film, Mary Todd. Of course is. With "FD 3", and "The Thing" (2011) under her belt. As is Jimmi Simpson who plays Abraham's employer/landlord, and later his sidekick...Joshua Speed. Simpson of course appeared in ''Stay Alive" back in 2006.

While Anthony Mackie, who plays Abraham's childhood friend Will...appears in the upcoming zombie epic "World War Z". So not only is this a cast of solid actors, but they're no strangers to the horror genre itself. Which works in this films favor. The gist of the movie basically retreads the turbulent days in America's history, where there was a movement to end slavery led by Abraham Lincoln. Against those who wanted to maintain the status quo. In between all of that, are the vampires...who're using slavery and the divided nation...as a springboard to upping their numbers, and ultimately enslaving the human race.
The film, despite being historically inaccurate (heh)...paints an interesting and exciting "what if" scenario from the pages of the book of the same name, penned by Seth Grahame Smith. There's not many dull moments in this movie, and that's a good thing. The picture skims the historical unfolding of events, but still manages to lay out enough source material to be accurate enough around the edges. And make some sembleance of sense.

All the while still working the vampire story line and weaving it around everything else nicely. All of this is led by Benjamin Walker's very nice performance as Abraham Lincoln. A performance which isn't too dopey, hammed-up, or droll. But rather filled with enough spirit and light-heartedness to fit just right for this type of movie. Which works well within the movies attempt to not take itself so seriously. What helps the movie along even more, are the intriguing plot twists.

For example, the movie lays down a new rule or two for the vampire mythology. Some might find this small but important twist to be dopey. I thought it worked well enough, but I won't spoil it here in this Review. The film also decides to dispatch of a major villain right in the middle of the picture, which came as a risky move. Considering the film only has three main villains. One leader and two seeming sidekick types, killing off the main baddie in the middle of the picture could've been disasterous. Instead, because the acting and casting is so strong in this film...it manages to work out nicely for the movie.

As during the third act, the remaining two villains rise to the occasion nicely, as worthy opponents for Abe. In between all of this, are some intriguing plot twists involving betrayals (both rumored and possible), and even a pretty sad sequence where someone close to Abe feels the wrath of the vampire menace. One thing "Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter" doesn't do though, is overdo it on blood. Some vampire movies flaunt the fact that they're vampire films.

They have blood flying and splashing all over the place. In scenes where people are bitten, killed, and the like. And where vampires are killed as well. This movie has blood on screen. Of course, it's a vampire flick. But it keeps it at a normal level. Where it fits into what's happening in certain scenes or sequences. And doesn't make it seem as if the director is spilling blood by the drums just for the sake of doing it. Another thing this movie does really well is create awesome set pieces for its characters to do battle in.

There's a very cool scene where Abe battles Jack the vampire right smack dab in the middle of a huge horse stampede. While other great scenes include a night-fight at an illusionary ball, and the third act gives us a very cool and exciting conclusion fight aboard a train which is supposedly filled with silver. A deadly arsenal as far as the vampires are concerned. Don't let the title fool or discourage you. "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" is definitely a genre mash-up movie, worth seeing more than once.

THE GOOD:Great directing by Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov. Who really brought an aura of charisma, excitement, and imagination to the project. That shined through on screen. You could really see his "Daywatch" series days come through here. Nicely done set pieces which enabled the characters to set up for some great battles and confrontations. A strong cast, good performances, and a story that sounded hard to balance being a mash-up and all. But was kept pretty well on track and on focus the entire duration. Loved the horse-stampede fight between Jack and Abe, and the ending was fun.

THE BAD:I thought it was a bit strange how Simpson's character Joshua Speed faded more and more into the background as the movie went on. Perhaps that was by design? But it happened pretty quickly and suddenly post act 2.

OVERALL:Four stars out of four.

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