If a movie is going to mess with history to the degree that "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" does, rewriting our most illustrious president as a ruthless slayer of the undead, it should at least be more fun than what director Timur Bekmambakov ("Wanted") serves up here.
Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith adapts his genre-mashing novel, which shows us a pre-political Lincoln (played with proper gravitas by Benjamin Walker) getting recruited by an anti-vampire trainer (Dominic Cooper) as the bloodsuckers establish themselves in the American South.
But when Lincoln violates the two rules of vampire hunting falling in love with Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and seeking an outside career in politics the results are an unholy alliance between the alpha vampire (Rufus Sewell) and the Confederacy, which makes the Civil War a battle to not only end slavery but to keep vampires from overrunning America.
Bekmambakov stages some outlandish sequences, but for all of Walker's dynamic ax-swinging moves and the graphic slow-motion spurting of blood, the action doesn't have any emotional oomph to it. The aura of sepia-toned self-importance drains the movie of the kinetic boost a red-blooded horror fan craves.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'
Opens Friday, June 22, at theaters everywhere; rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality; 105 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.