Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (R)

Action/Adventure 105 June 22, 2012
By Nick Pinkerton
The logical outer limit of the whole horror-as-metaphor thing, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shoehorns the entire personal history of the 16th president into mega-budget The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires chop-socky/grind house schlock, and casts the seditious South as a nation of slave-sucking undead. "History," narrates Abe (Benjamin Walker), "prefers nobility to brutality"— a fact redressed by Seth Grahame-Smith's screenplay, in which the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author adapts his second cutesy-clever pulp-historical mash-up. Young Mr. Lincoln loses his mother—who actually died from drinking bad milk—to a vampire's bite, takes up training under hunter Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), and learns to search and destroy Nosferatu with his rail-splitter's silver-edged ax, finally setting his sights on head vampire Adam (Rufus Sewell), who lives in the ripe antebellum splendor of a Simon Legree. Shot by the estimable Caleb Deschanel and projected in wholly unnecessary 3-D, Vampire Hunter's bleached palette makes it the ugliest major-studio release this year, though it needs be said that Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) approaches the material with a degree of Eurotrash insouciance that is probably necessary to approach it at all and crisply handles set pieces involving a horse stampede and a runaway munitions train. Possible resulting "fun" is only slightly mitigated by contemplation of the wearisome decadence of American popular culture.
Timur Bekmambetov Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas Seth Grahame-Smith, Simon Kinberg Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, Jim Lemley 20th Century Fox

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