When the zombie genre started coming back into mainstream popularity, it seems the undead legions invaded every form of entertainment from movies to gaming to books. Among the big literary hits was Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a brilliant melding of the actual historical life of the former U.S. President with a fictional past involving Lincoln knowing about the existence of vampires.
When he was 9 years old, Abraham Lincoln’s mother was killed by a vampire. After 10 years of trying to exact his revenge, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) meets Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who befriends Lincoln and teaches him to fight and the ins and outs of hunting vampires. But as Lincoln kills various vampires for Sturgess, he still has only one vampire on his mind, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas), the monster who killed his mother. In the process of finding revenge, Lincoln also meets and eventually marries Mary Todd, becomes President, and mounts his largest battle against the vampires ever…the Civil War.
When I read that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was being produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), I was definitely interested. I am a big fan of Wanted and was curious what the director could do in the horror genre, especially after his genre busting Night Watch and Day Watch in his native Russia. At the very least I was expecting great visuals. So color me surprised when I not only got said visuals, but great horror, great looking vampires, a great script and acting and some great development in the character of Lincoln. Benjamin Walker is excellent in the title role, exuding a kind of young Liam Neeson vibe and carrying the movie squarely on his presidential shoulders. The action is fast and furious, the set pieces amazing and often unbelievable (in a good way), and the horror gory and fun. I certainly did not expect to get as much out of this film as I did, and it just made me wonder why it didn’t get more attention. I am thinking the subject matter might have lost people before they even gave it a chance. And that is too bad because it was fantastic!
The Blu-ray from Fox is one of the best stunners of the year. Colors are bold and bright, black levels are inky and deep, and clarity and detail are astounding. The soundtrack does not disappoint either with a very immersive surround field. This is the big Blu-ray you didn’t expect to love this year and I encourage all horror fans to give it a chance!