It was kind of inevitable that I’d go opening weekend. I’m that person. I’m the person that was into Seth Grahame-Smith back in the How To Survive a Horror Movie days (because really, books of metafictional advice are right up there with books of pop culture philosophy in terms of how they draw me in like magnets) and I love that he’s all famous now for his ridiculous genre of historical (fiction) mashups. I probably will not be tired of this genre for a while, I admit it openly, and I know that it’s silly but I just enjoy it so much. I understand that it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I love campy monster stories and I love historical settings and I love stylized real-life cartoon movies, so I’m not complaining.
“Why did they make this one first and not Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?” one of my people asked. I don’t know. It is in production, allegedly, but I don’t know. Could it be to do with that skepticism about female-led action films? Maybe. But it will be here someday. And in the meantime, we have Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
- Benjamin Walker, mostly known prior to this film for his role as a different U.S. president in the stage production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, does a very acceptable job as Abraham Lincoln. They really got him looking Lincolny by the end; his axe work was pretty rad.
- Dominic Cooper, as Lincoln’s anti-vampire vampire buddy Henry Sturgess, does what he needs to do as well. I had somehow imagined Henry differently while reading, but not to the point where it was problematic or distracting. Just different.
- The particular vampire mythology of this book has always been a little weird to me – I mean, they could have explained how vampires can daywalk and I wouldn’t have felt it wasted exposition time, for example, but overall I can just accept it. Different breeds of vampires have different strengths and weaknesses, I guess.
- Anthony Mackie as Will Johnson was delightful and endearing, basically. Genuinely good guys that don’t bore me to tears are refreshing.
- Jimmi Simpson as Joshua Speed did what he needed to do. It was fun (also mildly annoying, but theoretically fun) hearing one of my people in my ear coming up with conspiracy theories about him.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln. Dear god I don’t care I adore her. I mean, she didn’t have the most to do, but I appreciate that the character was never written as a straight-up damsel, though she doesn’t do a lot of physical ass-kicking. She was sad when Abraham revealed he’d been keeping vampires a secret from her and sad when her son died, but that happens and is understandable and okay. Sadness is not weakness. And then Abraham said “okay, leave town for reasons” and she left and did very efficient and good things while not-there. So while I always want more women in movies, I’m not cranky about her role, and also I just love Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s face. So.
- Alan Tudyk as Stephen Douglas, wow, he wasn’t even credited, but it’s nice to see his face every so often.
- Lux Haney-Jardine, who played baby Abraham, is the little brother of Perla Haney-Jardine who is/was B.B. Kiddo in Kill Bill, and that rocks.
- Rufus Sewell and Erin Wasson as Adam and Vadoma the evil vampires. Very effective. Rufus Sewell is generally evil, so he’s good at it; Erin Wasson has really not done a lot before this in terms of acting, according to imdb, but she was fine.
- I was expecting them to be a lot raunchier, honestly, but that’s probably because I watch True Blood and I know that when vampires are referred to as brothers and sisters it can mean raunchy things. This wasn’t a raunchy movie, though. This wasn’t a sexy movie in the slightest. There was one partially naked dead woman and one scene of coitus interruptus in Henry’s bathtub, but that was it. Abraham and Mary courted, got married, held hands, had a child, were affectionate, but they didn’t dress it up in sexy trappings, which I’m okay with. There were no sexy vampire sexy scenes, which I’m okay with. This was a movie full of campy bloody vampire killings, but that was enough.
- Also, this was a movie full of men wearing vests. It’s the 1800s, that happens and I’m not surprised, but… yes, okay. Benjamin Walker wearing vests, Dominic Cooper wearing vests, Anthony Mackie wearing vests, vests vests vests.
- Finally, it was actually shot very prettily. There was gore, and lots of, but it never seemed gratuitous to me; a lot of the nature scenes were nicely done.
- Basically, I’m not complaining.
–your fangirl heroine.