Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - June 28th 2012

Never would I have thought that a film called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter be anything more than either a curiosity or a farce but it's neither, it's actually brilliant!

Yes, you read that correctly, it's really REALLY good and I can't urge people enough to go see it on the big screen this week before it is yanked from cinemas for unfortunately bombing and is resigned to the bargain blu-ray bin of history.

People (like me) who complain that there aren't enough good, fun, innovative ideas out there and people (like me again) who condemn the vast majority of CGI heavy films, need to see this film and be proved wrong but, of course, go see it in 2D (seriously I may be wrong about a lot of things but screw 3D, screw 3D in it's muddy, blurry pointless face)

It looks incredible, the cinematography is beautiful and hovers just the right side of something like Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow for example (Burton serves as producer on the film). The big strength of the film is that it's concerned not just with flashy set pieces (although there are plenty) but also with story telling, drama, emotion, loss, friendship and love.

It manages to walk the line so few 'geek/horror-fan' marketed-to films manage to traverse and that is the action scenes are genuinely thrilling, entertaining, laughably ridiculous but in a way great action cinema should be and everything a good fan-boy could want while also providing you with, wouldn't you know, characters you care about!
It gives the story room to breathe, it makes you give a crap, it makes you want to be part of it all and under lying it all, it even may 'shhh say this in a whisper'  have something to say
That's right not only is there satisfying action, vampires, historical figures, an understandable plot, great characters, interesting performances and it's all stunning to look at but somewhere buried deep beneath everything it has a teeny weeny message that makes you leave the cinema feeling something! and what a WONDERFUL experience that is for a change!

The trick they had up their sleeve the whole time was they played it completely straight. There are chuckles in there for people who either know the period, the characters or the quotes and there are laughs of glee as something brilliantly ludicrous happens a-top a speeding train or something but the best thing about the film is that it tells the story like what you are watching really happened once. Oh yes and like I said, it cares about its characters in an endearingly charming and commendable way.

That's not where the finely tuned excellence of this piece ends because it actually manages to throw in all the big, over simplified or falsified historical, patriotic and heroic stuff without, for one, this cynical, tired and jaded movie goer ever feeling anything less than riveted and swept along, all with a big dopey 'this is f'ing cool' smile plastered firmly on my face.

A quick word about the vampires. I have not been one for this recent spate of vampire related films and TV, in fact you could say that the mere mention of Edward from Twilight or that potato faced, thick-foreheaded, vacant pillock from the Vampire Diaries is enough to send me into a fit of vomitous rage but the vampires in this (a very very nice mixture of make-up, practical effect and cgi) are genuinely scary and very well done. Plenty of jumps in the first half of the film can be had as you get used to their impressive appearance, slathering jaws, black eyes, veiny skin and all.

It's closest film predecessor, it being a famous story from history re-told in comic-book format with added supernatural elements, a gothic horror style and then made into a hip flashy film, would be 'From Hell'. Now 'From Hell' has problems with its stars it's true but look past Depp's atrocious accent and inability to drop Hunter S Thompson's mannerisms and ignore entirely the blight on the cinematic landscape that was the brief reign of Miss.Brain-Fart  herself, Heather Graham and actually 'From Hell 'was remarkably well done, engaging and gruesome. Well AL:VH is that but with some strong, likable, earnest central performances.

Look if you had told me 4hrs ago that I'd be sat here hurriedly and excitedly racing to extoll the virtues of a film called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter I would've scoffed at you, in that way that I am wont to do, and a little bit of you internally would think I was an arse, probably right but still a bit of an arse.
It's still surprising me, even sat here wracking my brain to find something negative to say about it, I really can't think of much!
Well, except that Mary Elizabeth Winstead, despite being cute, is a bit flat but it doesn't derail the film, it's perfectly fine and she even has a couple of moments that border on better-than-average which, for her, is an improvement!
So apart from that, this film, for me, on the big screen, in glorious 2D, with a very empty cinema, on one of the last showings my local multiplex is having sadly, it was a resounding and air thumping success.

9 out of 10 bloody steaks (see what I did there)

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