If you are going to make a film where Abraham Lincoln battles vampires you had better make it completely ridiculous and totally kick-ass. They got the first part right since this is certainly ridiculous but unfortunately it’s not in any way ‘kick-ass’. In many ways the movie is based on true historical facts, for example Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) uses a silver coated axe as his weapon of choice to despatch the undead, and I do know that the real Lincoln was himself very proficient with an axe. Just as he did in real life Lincoln campaigns to abolish slavery and he also er…. wears a hat. Ok so my knowledge of Honest Abe has pretty much run out here, but shallow though it is, it was still a lot deeper than most of what follows in the film…
There is a nice emotional set up at the start, (albeit in a B-Movie horror film style) where you are shown the death of Abraham’s mother by a vampire and then introduced to him as an inexperienced and vulnerable young man. The film then introduces some of the key characters such as Henry (Dominic Cooper) who becomes his friend, trainer and mentor and also Abe’s future wife Mary (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
However the film soon loses both it’s emotional elements and dramatic tension and you know its lost it’s way completely when the death of Lincoln’s own son fails you move you. But by this time the film has long since degenerated into a sequence of meaningless action sequences anyway. It’s also in these action sequences where the film’s internal logic starts to breaks down : Why is Abe’s friend Will suddenly able to wield an axe just as skilfully as him?
In any film, no matter how ridiculous you still need to care for it to work and here I just didn’t. Sucks a little, but mainly just draining 4/10