Let me just start by saying that I had seen the trailer for this film multiple times and greeted it each time with an eye-rolling sneer. Then, I started to notice that there were some pretty respectable names attached. So, in spite of the fact that the premise seemed patently absurd, I started to foster hope—maybe this was going to be some sort of a weird Twilight-meets-The Conspirator breath of fresh air. And I have to say, for a number of reasons, I was pleasantly surprised.
The premise is fairly clear: Young Abe Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) watches a vampire murder his mother; and from that moment, he is both keenly aware of the threat to his young country and, at the same time, bent on vengeance. He soon meets Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), an enigmatic roué who teaches Lincoln how to battle the monsters. You see, it turns out that the bustling slave trade has drawn the vampires to the South, where a steady stream of easily unaccounted-for people provides a fertile hunting ground. To keep their food supply available, the vampires side with the Confederacy to fight the Civil War.
Now, let me stop for a second. I’m not sure the Civil War is a hot-button issue anymore, but if people have ancestors who fought in grey, I can imagine feathers ruffling. That being said, please direct all emails and letters to the screenwriter. I just review them, I don’t write them.
This film really takes special effects to a new level. On the down side, it takes itself a tad too seriously. On the up side, it’s original, well-acted and thought-provoking. My only fear is that it will spawn a subset of lackluster presidential monster-killer movies: Millard Fillmore: Zombie Hunter, William Howard Taft: Werewolf Slayer—although I think we all know how that one’s going to end.
It's a 7.