Who knew the antebellum south was riddled with vampires? Abraham Lincoln, that’s who! Yes, history has never been so weird. This movie combines un-historical fiction with the vampire genre because we just can’t get enough bloodsuckers in our entertainment.
Meet young Abe Lincoln. As a boy, he witnessed a fatal vampire attack on his mother, starting his lifelong vendetta against the bloodsucker who murdered her. As an adult, Abe meets Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) in a bar. Sturgess, a so-called “good” vampire agrees to train Lincoln to kill vamps, but he must follow Sturgess’s systematic plan, taking out only vampires Sturgess suggests and agreeing to not cultivate any friends or family. In essence, Lincoln must dedicate his life to the cause. Lincoln agrees, and soon becomes one bad-ass vampire hunter.
Lincoln’s (Benjamin Walker) focus changes however when he meets the lovely Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). History buffs will be sorely disappointed to meet such a stable, mild-mannered Mary Todd, as the real wife of our 16th president was known for being a depressed shopaholic who may have even been bipolar. But there’s no time in this movie to explore the depths of these historical figures, there are vampires to kill!
And kill, Honest Abe does. According to this whacked history lesson, vampires first settled in New Orleans and then migrated north. Slaves provided plenty of “easy” blood for their nourishment, which turned out to be a convenient plan, considering their secret feeding habits were less likely to be discovered if they didn’t need to hunt the general population.
Slave-owning vampires are the real reason Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter suggests our great nation descended into Civil War. A bold, if not absurd premise that provides plenty of violent battle scenes, including one at Gettysburg that may or may not rival the horror of the real one.
Bottom line: Don’t expect any insights into the Civil War or even Abe Lincoln himself. Here you get what the film’s title promises — Abe Lincoln hunting vampires. I will mention that these vampires are the icky, scary kind, not the sexy kind (darn!), so if blood, warfare with silver-plated weapons and the dude from the penny get you excited, you’ll love this movie.