Before I walked into the theater to watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was of two minds. The action movie-lover side of me was excited to experience all the adventure that the trailer promised. However, the history major side of me was a bit apprehensive. I was worried that the film, which is far from historically accurate to say the least, would tarnish the legacy of one of our nation's greatest presidents. While some moments in the film did certainly make me want to pull out A Patriot's History of the United States and lecture the writer, I was pleased overall.
First off, be aware that this movie certainly does have a heavy dose of graphic violence. It's rated R for a reason. As someone who usually avoids slasher movies like the plague, I'm ashamed to say that I watched many of the action scenes through my fingers. Hey, I'm a bit squeamish, so sue me. Anyway, I digress. Despite the fact that I jumped out of my seat a time or two, the action was engaging. Trust me, this film is basically a two-hour battle between Lincoln and an army of vampires. There's not a lot of time to catch your breath between the gushing blood and dismembered limbs.
If you're a rigid history buff who cringes when you find an inaccuracy in your college textbook, save your money. The film certainly took a fair share of liberties to say the least. Most of the fictionalized history I could deal with, but there were a few moments where I simply had to roll my eyes. The most cringe-worthy moment was a scene between a vampire and Jefferson Davis in which the film insinuated that the South collaborated with the fanged monsters during the Battle of Gettysburg. The reason the battle claimed so many lives (according to the film) is that the North was unable to combat the vampires until they delivered a trainload of silver to the battlefield. That was a little bit of a stretch to say the least. In a way, it made a mockery of one of the darkest moments in our nation's history. However, I do believe that the movie somewhat made up for it during the last 5 minutes of the movie when Lincoln gave a voice over speech which included the following:
"History prefers legends to men. It prefers nobility to brutality, soaring speeches to quiet deeds. History remembers the battle, but forgets the blood."
The last 5 minutes of the film are worth the $10 ticket for the 3D showing in my opinion. I left the theater with reverence and respect for Lincoln; the real Lincoln, not the ax-wielding, vampire-slaying one.
I do wish, however that the film could have weaved fiction with fact more efficiently. Think the musical Wicked, which flawlessly blends a fictional tale into a classic work of literature while still paying its respects to the original story. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was not able to produce this sort of harmony. The whole "Jefferson Davis colluded with vampires" thing made that impossible. However, I was mostly satisfied by the film. However, I went into the film with an open mind with somewhat low standards. Others might not be as pleasantly surprised as I was after I left the theater. If you are a rigid history buff, don't see this movie. If you are a Confederate-flag-waving southerner, don't see this movie. If you can't watch Pocahontas without covering your eyes when John Smith gets shot, definitely don't watch this movie. However, if you are an open-minded film consumer with a taste for action and adventure, I would definitely recommend spending two hours of your life on this movie.
Rating: 6/10 Cupcakes