In Theaters Review is where I review movies that are currently playing in theaters. Spoiler free for your pleasure.
In Theaters Review Rating: 0 out of 5 quinoa salads. This movie is not worthy of a single quinoa let alone a salad of them.
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is awful. Not fun awful. Awful awful. The single positive attribute of this movie is the premise itself, which is ridiculous and funny and could have been taken in any number of entertaining directions. Unfortunately the film never makes up its mind on which of those directions it will take, so bumbles along slipshod for one hundred and five long minutes. It tries to play it mostly straight while wondering about being campy. It alternates between running with its inherent silliness in one scene and having a child die in the next. All of these ill fitting parts, even when considered in isolation of each other, are executed poorly. The identity crisis is accompanied by a complete lack of cleverness. Even more astounding is the absence of humor. It is impossible for the concept alone to compensate for such careless construction.
Shockingly this film has little interest in exploiting the well known idiosyncrasies of its title character. Has there been a more exhaustively researched American than Abraham Lincoln? We know he was a gigantic human for his time, with tremendous physical strength to match his intellect and ambition. He was strange looking and battled depression. He failed a lot in life before he succeeded. He had a personality many found off-putting but could engage anyone when telling a story. A wealth of material from which to create a vampire hunting President. Instead we see a Lincoln character that amounts to little more than a lazy, moronic amplification of some mythology. Vampire Hunter Lincoln is so opposed to slavery that as a child he takes a whipping with his black friend. An outspoken abolitionist from the beginning, he is pursuing the presidency so that he can end slavery. That same childhood friend he took a beating with becomes an adviser in his White House. This Lincoln is handsome, liked, and competent at all things. A waste.
It is against all movie review best practices to divulge spoilers. I will break convention here because it is very important that you not see this movie. All flickers of interest must be extinguished. If you find the fact that many Americans fought to preserve slavery during the Civil War a bit too prickly, this film has a fantasy you will love: it was the vampires that did it.
I went into this movie amused and intrigued by the premise. I liked the concept, which is supposed to be the biggest hurdle to enjoying movies that are so silly. That was my problem. Ebert went in “expecting to sneer” and found himself entertained, although he has a nice list of things he recommends ignoring along the way if you want to be entertained, too. If you decide to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” after reading this review, I hope that you expect to sneer. It might just give you a chance at enjoying yourself.