Last Sunday I saw Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter with my sister and my dad. I hear a lot of people are ripping this film apart, and quite frankly, I think it’s getting way more hate than it deserves.
To hear the words or read the title, one would think this was an incredibly stupid concept, and while that mostly rings true, it’s not as dumb as you might think. This isn’t some random action flick that just so happens to have Abraham Lincoln in it, this is the story of Abraham Lincoln’s life… he just has a night job.
Instead of Abe’s mother dying from poisoned milk, she is killed by a vampire, and a young Lincoln sets out on a quest for vengeance when he comes of age. During this, Abe Lincoln does everything he actually did in life: he studies to become a lawyer, he meets his future wife Mary Todd, etc. Later he learns the South is ruled by an aristocracy of vampires who are running a large conspiracy of transporting slaves to the New World to be used as a food supply. Upon learning this Lincoln takes his crusade nation wide, becoming president of the United States and launching a war against the vampires/South to free the slaves.
And they play all of this completely straight.
ALVH tries to be something smart what with trying to follow Lincoln’s actual life, and the slave conspiracy. He starts as a young man swinging his silver axe, and by the end he plays a smaller roll as the Civil War sets in, spending most of his time behind a desk as president. They play the whole thing seriously, and it kinda, sorta works, though there were a few times I honestly couldn’t keep a straight face what with some of the lines and the over-the-top action scenes. Ultimately, it doesn’t succeed at being anything intelligent, but I really appreciated the effort and it’s a fun film.
I was, however, disappointed with how much of Lincoln’s life was pushed to the background in favor of his hunting adventures–it’s there, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the focus. According to my dad, the book follows Lincoln’s life with solid, historical accuracy, so in that regard, there is a major difference between the film and the book.
Y’know, there was a time where I hated movies like this by default. I hated, for example, 300 because it wasn’t the historical Battle of Thermopylae. But then I realized something: this stuff is popular, and movies like this expose people to subjects they may never have looked at (or realized they liked) otherwise. If, for example, one million people see ALVH, and just one percent of those take an interest in the actual life of Abraham Lincoln, or the Civil War, or the issue of slavery in America, then the film makers just facilitated the learning of ten thousand people.
So now, even if I’m not the biggest fan of films like these, I welcome them with open arms.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is by no means one of the best films ever made–not by a long shot. It’s silly, but it’s not completely dumb, and you’ll have a good time watching it.