film review : Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

The Angriest Critic wonders, does a good book, with a historical fact and vampire horror adventure winning combo, make a good movie?

by Adam Rosina

When I first picked up Seth Grahame-Smith’s sophomore novel, the mockbiography Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I expected a piece of entertaining if disposable pulp, in line with Grahame-Smith’s previous effort, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. What I found in place of a whacky genre mash-up was a meticulous union of solid historical fact (gleaned from Lincoln’s actual diaries) and an engaging horror adventure treated with the utmost seriousness. Chocolate and peanut butter, my friends.

Despite my immense enjoyment of the book, when the inevitable film adaptation was announced, I was thrown into a yo-yo like cycle of elation and despair. On the one hand, the original author was stepping in to pen the screenplay. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tim Burton was producing, and we needn’t reiterate my feelings on him (but we will: whore of the AList director set). And somewhere in the middle lies the director chosen to helm the film, Timur Bekmambetov, whose previous film Wanted was a kinetically-charged feast for the eyes, but an utter evisceration of the gruesomely hilarious graphic novel that served as its source. But, as is my way, I tried in earnest to withhold judgment and hope for the best. Having just seen the finished film, I can say that, yeah, I prolly shoulda hoped for substantially less, because Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter throws out everything that made the book great and replaces it with supreme banality.

read the full review in the August/September 2012 Issue

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