Share & Connect
Historical fiction-based action thriller ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ hit theaters June 22, 2012, battling against Disney and Pixar’s ‘Brave’ and Dreamworks’ ‘Madagascar 3.’ Unfortunately, it couldn’t hold its own against the kids’ movies; however, the box office numbers do not reflect the actual quality of the film. ‘Lincoln’ is a fantastic film with a surprisingly rich story and truly epic action sequences.
‘Lincoln’ is based on the novel of the same name written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. The story begins with Lincoln as a child with two hardworking parents on a plantation. When Lincoln sees one of his friends, William Johnson, being hurt, he attacks the owner, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas), and his father intervenes. Lincoln’s father, Thomas (Joseph Mawle), quits and Barts demands that his debt be repaid immediately. Thomas refuses and Barts decides to settle the score another way. One night, he sneaks into their home and bites Thomas’ wife, Nancy (Robin McLeavy), which Lincoln witnesses. She dies the next morning, leaving Thomas and Lincoln heartbroken.
Thomas makes Lincoln vow to never seek revenge and he agrees, but after the father dies nine years later, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) gears up to kill Barts. He gets drunk to work up the nerve for the kill and bumps into the mysterious Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who warns him not to be reckless but he does not listen. Lincoln confronts Barts at the docks only to learn he is a vampire, and is nearly killed until Henry intervenes.
Lincoln wakes up in Henry’s home the next day and learns the truth about how vampires came to America looking to rebuild their ranks and thrive. He still wants revenge for his mother’s death so he makes a deal with Henry to be taught how to kill vampires if he takes on the mission to exterminate all of them, instead of just Barts. He trains for a while and then heads to Springfield where he lands a job with Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) and takes assignments to secretly kill vampires in the city.
During his time in Springfield, he meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the two fall for each other. However, Barts discovers their relationship and threatens to kill her, beckoning Lincoln to settle the score once and for all. Lincoln kills him but learns that he is only an enforcer working for Adam (Rufus Sewell), a powerful vampire ruling over New Orleans who wants to expand his influence throughout the entire country.
Not long afterwards, Lincoln finds out Henry is a vampire whom Adam created out of spite. Since vampires cannot kill one another, Henry has been making human protégées to hunt in his place, but Lincoln is angry when he finds out the truth and gives up hunting to marry Mary and become a politician. He later becomes President of the United States during the civil war, along with the help of his childhood friend William (Anthony Mackie), which escalates when Adam sends his vampire followers onto the battlefield to turn the tide for the South. Adam’s sister, Vadoma (Erin Wasson), murders Lincoln’s only son William, and he determines to end the war and the dispute once and for all.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek premise for the novel and film, ‘Lincoln’ is actually a fantastic experience due to the masterful casting. Benjamin Walker is exceptional as Lincoln, both as a young man and as his older, more well-known self. He brings an incredible sense of honor, strength, and determination to the role, while still being a genuinely good man who wants to save the people he loves and the nation he serves.
The other actors are also cast perfectly. The villains are vicious and unforgiving and Lincoln’s friends are self-sacrificing and loyal to the end. This is also due to the fact that the script is relatively clear of clichés and provides enough time to develop the characters and give them distinct roles alongside Lincoln.
The plot flows well and never drags in any particular spot. It is especially engrossing because of the story’s historical fiction setting. Most of Lincoln’s important moments in history remain unchanged, even with the inclusion of the vampires threatening America, and it is interesting to see how he changes from a hardened young man to a responsible leader of the Union. This is the main appeal for the novel as well, which is part of the mashup genre where authors take a pre-existing text and combine it with a supernatural element. Other popular works similar to this one are ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.’
The only significant flaw in ‘Lincoln’ is the rather noticeable CGI, which can get distracting in scenes where it takes up most of the environment. The vampires themselves look excellent and terrifying, but the CGI for backgrounds is mediocre at best. The worst offenders are the horse stampede and the end sequence of the fiery train tracks. It is quite easy to tell that they are standing in a green screen and thus some of the action feels less intense due to the substandard visuals.
Still, ‘Lincoln’ is an exciting foray into the mashup genre and should not be missed.