When I first heard about this movie, I was expecting the worst. I’ve been exposed to my fair share of B-type horror movies (I was raised on “Critters,” “Ghoulies,” “Killer Clowns from Outerspace,” and everything else one can imagine as a kid). I laughed at the SyFy channel’s monster movie line-up and was sick unto death of zombie movies. That said, I wasn’t entirely excited for this movie’s premier. My boyfriend, however, was chomping at the bit. He adores B-type
movies and this was no exception. And, to my honest surprise, it wasn’t as awful as I had wholly envisioned in my head.
The movie starts with a young Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) defending his slave friend, Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie), from abuse at the hands of a slave trader. A scuffle ensues and Abraham’s father is ultimately met face-to-face with “Adam” (Rufus Sewell), a well-known and well-feared trader in the lands. The two exchange heated words with Adam threatening to extract his revenge by some unknown means. What seems later that evening, Abraham’s mother is attacked by Adam as young Abraham watches from the shadows. Adam, as one can guess, is a vampire and leaves Abraham’s mother in such a state she cannot recover. Upon her death, Abraham vows revenge, devoting the next ten years of his life to killing Adam.
As the reader can surmise, Abraham is ill-equipped to face Adam and when the day finally arrives, he finds himself wholly unprepared for the task. Cue the entrance of Henry Sturgess, Vampire Hunter. Saving Abraham from an early demise, Henry (Dominic Cooper) takes the young man under his wing and teaches him the way of vampire hunting. He teaches young Abe that the vampires control the whole of the south, using the slave trade as their means for fresh and easily accessible blood. Having never tolerated slavery of any kind, Abraham is infuriated by this and his desire to eradicate the vampire colony grows.
From there he is bequeathed his infamous axe, its edge lined in silver, and we watch as young Abe grows and matures as a skilled warrior before our eyes. When the time comes, Abraham is sent away on a mission to kill select vampires in a quiet town, vampires who pose as noted professionals and townspersons during the day. As a rule, Henry cautions Abraham not to make any friends or form any kind of attachments. Of course, it’s at this point he meets Mary Todd and that whole theory goes out the window. In addition to his vampire hunting, he also begins his career in politics and as a renowned orator. Given one’s knowledge of history, we can see where this all leads.
I won’t divulge the whole of the story here – I’m sure you can imagine where it goes and what comes of it. That said, aside from the over-the-top fighting scenes and certain drawn out moments (the horse stampede and train fight immediately come to mind), it wasn’t as awful as I had originally envisioned. The movie is entertaining and still
retains a fair amount of the B-movie cheesiness one hopes for in watching it. Obviously, the storyline is wracked with historical inaccuracies and unlikely moments (really, Abe Lincoln survives a horse being thrown at him?), but it’s a B-movie and I wasn’t expecting perfection.
If you’re looking for something that offers sheer entertainment and nothing further, this is a movie for you then. You won’t be blown away by the acting skills, the special effects are decent enough (don’t pay extra for 3-D though – it was awful), and while the movie feels slow and drags at parts, over-all it’s rather entertaining for what it is.
2.5 out of 5 stars