When I discovered this movie, skepticism washed over me. I mean, Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter? Having one of the greatest presidents of all time as the character of a vampire hunter would be the last thing anyone would expect. When I entered the theater, my initial thought was that this movie would bring me disappointment. But it turned out to be much better than expected and a fun film filled with lots of violence, blood, gore, and vampire decapitations.
So, in the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's fantasy novel, Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter. But before he becomes that, he's just an ordinary boy living in a world consumed by slavery. One night, his mom died from an undiscovered disease and from then on, he's waited and searched for his mom's killer, only to discover a new large world of vampires. There he becomes a vampire hunter under the guidance of Henry Sturges (who has a secret).
However, his vampire hunting career reaches a hiatus in the middle of a movie where Abraham is now interested in pursuing a career in politics. In the end, he becomes the President of the United States, only to have his career troubled by the devastating Civil War where vampires play a part in it somehow. In the 20 or so minutes that focus on his presidency, I felt there was an issue with it as it shifted the focus of vampire hunting and focused on politics and the Civil War instead as nothing about vampires was stated during this 20 minutes.
The vampires are led by a leader named Adam. Although he might appear to be the strongest, I felt that the vampire John Barts (killer of Abraham's mother) was actually the main antagonist of the film and represented a bigger threat. While Adam had a lengthy climax, the fight with John Barts was much longer and was more personal as only the two of them were involved and more engaging. The scene also displayed more of the abilities possessed by a vampire.
Talking about action scenes, they were all great and fantastic. They were energetic, full of blood, full of gore, extremely violent, and dead brutal. Most of them feature decapitations of the vampires and anyone seeking brutality, deadliness, blood, gore, and violence should be satisfied with the action scenes provided here. But what I noticed in the action scenes, particularly the Lincoln-Barts fight and parts of the climax, was that it was quite unclear. In the Lincoln-Barts fight, the two were in a sandy place with many horses galloping. I felt that there was too much sand flying around and the fight became unclear and a bit brownish. This made it hard to see what was going on. It might intentionally done like that to give it more of an old feeling but it may also be a distraction because you don't know what's going on. The same happened in parts of the climax but this time, smoke and sparks caused it.
The script was a bit uneven. While the second half of the film was a bit better, I felt that the first half of the film was a bit lacking in dialog. There was little talk and there was too many decapitations, blood, and gore. I felt that the scenes progressed too fast and they should have taken it more patiently. In fact, most of the talk in the first part of the film comes from Abraham, due in part to the narration of fragments of his diary. The others rarely talk and probably only talk so little and it's only by the second half that they talk more. However, the performances by the actors were okay, not too terrible to burden the overall movie experience.
I also felt there was a bit of a disaster with the make-up. Since the time in the story spans from Abraham's early adulthood to his fifties, we could clearly see a change in his facial appearance (a beard). We can also see this change with Abraham's friend Joshua Speed. The same cannot be said with Abraham's wife Mary Todd, and Abraham's other friend Will Johnson. Mary Todd doesn't appear to change with the exception of very few creases on her face whereas Will Johnson doesn't have a change in appearance at all. His face is exactly the same his hair didn't even turn white.
However, the 3D was excellent. It takes you and makes you part of the scenes and is recommended although some of the scenes would make the 3D a nuisance. But other scenes where there is blood will be enhanced by the 3D and some of the blood may even squirt out to your face. And the visual effects! Oh they're such a wonder. But of course, impressive visual effects and eye-catching stunts would be what you would expect from a movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
Overall, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is a film that offers moviegoers a fun time with plenty of bloody and gory action sequences filled with eye-catching stunts, impressive visual effects and excellent 3D effects. Despite the interesting plot, the film is downed by some poor unclear shots, an uneven script that mostly focused on action, not on dialog, and poor make-up. Regardless, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is a movie you should see if you want a bloody fun time.
Final Verdict: Despite the uneven script, some poor unclear shots, and poor make-up, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" promises moviegoers a bloody fun time with gory action scenes, eye-catching stunts, impressive visual effects, and excellent 3D effects with an interesting and somehow peculiar plot line.