Reading some of the reviews of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, you get the sneaking suspicion that a lot of my fellow critics believed they were walking into some camp ground of historical meta-fiction where the 16th President of the United States would dispatch bloodsuckers with some Schwarzeneggerian one-liners. But that’s not the case, and this is where being of the nerdy persuasion has advantages over other critics.
I’m only about 100 pages into Seth Grahame-Smith’s original novel and can say easily that there isn’t an ounce of camp between the pages. It’s no sketch either, as it’s also been compared to a Saturday Night Live skit. The book is a surprisingly thoughtful, well-researched alterna-biography of Lincoln. As if there really was a vampire named Henry carrying around “Honest” Abe’s secret diaries all this time and showed them to Grahame-Smith.
As for the movie, it carries none of the book’s subtlety, but being from the director of Wanted, Timur Bekmambetov, I didn’t expect there to be much. Although clearly more horror flavoured than recent vampire films like Twilight or Priest, the potential for straight-up horror is replaced with absurdest, nearly over the top action sequences complete with CG blood spurts. I think we wanted something closer to Bram Stoker’s Dracula rather than something that feels cut from the cloth of Van Helsing.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP