First Look at Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter

The NYT pays the set of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a visit.

The “Vampire Hunter” film, like the book, follows Lincoln from his boyhood on the frontier through his assassination by John Wilkes Booth and — because this is a vampire story — beyond. Young Lincoln, having learned that his grandfather and mother were killed by vampires, vows to kill every last blood-sucker in a country that is crawling with them.

On realizing that vampires are tangled in the slave trade, Lincoln’s resolve grows and takes on a moral dimension. To complicate matters he also learns that the creatures come in two varieties, good and bad.

This last is a point of convergence with Mr. Bekmambetov, who was born in Kazakhstan and is based in Moscow. His action films — among them “Wanted,” with Angelina Jolie, and the Russian-language “Night Watch” — depict warfare among magical forces that lurk just out of sight.

“I believe, I believe,” Mr. Bekmambetov said, when asked if this universe is rooted in conviction or is just a movie conceit.

The film’s production designer, François Audouy, has an unexpected approach to the historical aspects. He uses both computer effects and actual locations to blend the real and the artificial in ways that could only be imagined when Woody Allen posed with Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover in “Zelig” and Forrest Gump received a Medal of Honor from Lyndon B. Johnson. In the production office here in Louisiana recently, where the film will be shooting into next month, Mr. Audouy’s associates were sorting through a stack of seemingly authentic Civil War maps, just a tiny sampling of the myriad props that are turning “Vampire Hunter” into a true period epic.

This conceit certainly works better as a movie than as a novel. I’m half-intrigued and half-repulsed by this.

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