A solemn voice utters a psalm-like speech, "And I heard as it were the noise of thunder and I looked and behold it was death, saying come and see…" Simultaneously, in a shadowy forest lightening cracks illuminating the silhouette of a man—an axe in one hand, a stovepipe hat in the other. It's Lincoln, like you've never seen him before. The truth about our 16th president finally exposed—in the summer blockbuster Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.
What's that? Lincoln's bad-axery wasn't taught in any of the history classes you attended as a child, or in college? Well you're about to get schooled. Accompanied by an ominous Inception-esque soundtrack, and set against a Civil War landscape of CGI battlefields, fiery destruction and eerie after-dark duels the movie's trailer depicts a young, virile Lincoln twirling his axe and air-chopping vamps in the grand traditions of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Abe the action hero rounds out his trailer debut with a slo-mo shot of his super self obliterating a tree trunk with, of course, his mighty axe.
And the vampires look... well there aren't many vampire close ups. It's all very dim and hard to see but that just adds to the suspense, right? Just like the lack of dialogue. The trailer delivers a cinematic mash up of massive explosions, CGI-enhanced history and gravity-defying fight scenes—all in 3D. Plus it has a timely political agenda. (Otherwise why would the trailer conclude with the question, "are you a patriot or a vampire" and point you to Facebook presumably, to vote?)
It's utterly ridiculous. But utterly ridiculous in a good, or bad way?
The Seth Grahame-Smith novel and series it's based on is equally absurd and barely historically yet wildly popular. As in his other books like Pride Prejudice and Zombies, Smith's method of inserting supernatural characters and scenes into classic literature and history has proved a successful formula, at least in book form. Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov helms the movie with Smith and Sherlock Holmes's Simon Kinberg collaborating on the screenplay. The cast consists of mostly newcomers or unknowns including Benjamin Walker as Lincoln and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) as his wife Mary Todd.
So what will Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter amount to on screen? The best blockbuster of the summer? A savvy political satire? A rollicking action adventure? A hilarious horror-history spoof? Or unwatchable except to mock Mystery Science Theater style?
We're not sure, but we know we're itching to find out. Unless enough moviegoers make it to the theaters before us and tell us how terrible it is. Then we'll still see it, but not until it's released on DVD.