Movies about historical figures can usually provide enough facts to type a decent last-minute term paper. I'd love to read what procrastinating students might write about the 16th president of the United States after watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (R).
This Lincoln graphically slays supernatural creatures by the score, starting as an Illinois lad avenging his late mother, who died after drinking vampire blood. Later, he learns that slavery chiefly exists as a means to keep the undead's food supply fresh, launching a parallel political career of abolishment. After being elected president, Lincoln must viciously preserve the Union against seceding Confederate vampire forces.
One tip for coasting pupils: Be sure to cite Seth Grahame-Smith's novel and Timur Bekmambetov's movie in your footnotes. The teacher will still want to meet with you after class.
Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln, after portraying another, earlier president on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a rock musical that despite its title wasn't bloody. That element isn't missing in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, judging by the splatter-red band trailer online.
Bekmambetov made the nifty Angelina Jolie shoot-em-up Wanted, and dealt with vampires before they got Twilight-ed to death in the Russian thrillers Night Watch and Day Watch. If he matches those movies' visual pizzazz and pulse-quickening energy, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will, like its subject, belong to the ages.
Look for a review at tampabay.com/features and on Etc, Page 2B.
Steve Persall, Times movie critic