Many 2012 genre movies have developed a worrisome postmodern tic, often rushing to point out their own ridiculousness before the audience even gets a chance to get swept up and taken in. The historical monster mash Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
is profoundly silly--even sillier, possibly, than the title suggests--but it conducts itself with an admirably straight face. Seth Grahame-Smith's script (based on his own novel) finds the Young Mr. Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) set on a path of righteous vengeance after watching his mother get fatally fanged. As he studies the law and woos the ravishing Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by day, the nights find him throwing down with an unending army of the undead. When he discovers the plot of a master vampire (the excellently dry Rufus Sewell) to conquer the United States, he makes the fateful decision to throw his hat (and silver-bladed axe) into the ring of national politics. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted
, the Night Watch
series) brings a wide-eyed fervour to the material, offering tantalising hints of a larger mythology while also glorying in the wonky kineticism of the plentiful action sequences. (He's aided in his mission by legendary cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, who gives the images an old-timey View-Master texture.) Scholars of the historical record may well develop the vapours, but for susceptible viewers, the film's wink-free approach and exceedingly game performers make it frightfully easy to sit back, switch off, and bask in its poker-faced outrageousness. Many movies have had somebody thrown by a horse; this movie has a bad guy pick up a horse and throw it at the hero. Brothers and sisters, there is a difference. --Andrew Wright
From visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted
) comes this visceral, satisfying thriller based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s best seller. Benjamin Walker turns in a killer performance as Abraham Lincoln, who must risk the presidency, his family and his life to protect America from bloodthirsty vampires. Led by the diabolical Adam (Rufus Sewell), the vicious creatures plot to create a nation of their own--the U.S. Thrust into an epic fight against the hideous undead killers, Lincoln must rely on those around him. But it’s unclear who he can trust in this white-knuckle adventure that’s ablaze with plot twists, blood-pumping action and spectacular effects.