On paper "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" seems like it could work.
A reshaping of history in which one of the most beloved presidents in American history was also a slayer of the undead has some potential - a least on a campy level.
That potential isn't quite realized however, with a film that takes itself way more seriously than it should - essentially sucking most of the fun out of it.
Based on a novel from Seth Grahame-Smith (who also wrote the screenplay), the film follows Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) as a young boy who seeks to avenge his mother's death after she is attacked by a vampire.
He seeks the help of a mysterious drifter named Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who agrees to train him on how to hunt and kill vampires, who are slowly trying to take over the country.
As Lincoln rises to the presidency, his war with the vampires intensifies, culminating in a Civil War that could very well tip the scales in favor of the undead.
It all sounds silly, but for the most part director Timur Bekmambetov stages it like a reenactment you'd see on the History Channel. It's all kind of proper and stuffy and rather slow and methodical.
It's only during some well crafted action sequences does "Vampire Hunter" show a hint of its potential. There are several elaborate set pieces that play to the strengths of Bekmambetov (who also directed "Wanted"). A chase in a stampede of wild horses, a couple of battlefield sequences, and the film's signature piece - set on a train - show an insanely inventive side that should have been prevalent throughout more of the film.
All of these sequences are well crafted, great looking moments in a film that is never as fun as it should have been.