Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a snappy title that promises much but delivers sporadic, slow-motion thrills and blood spills says Damon Smith
Author Seth Grahame-Smith seized upon the idea for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter during a book tour for his 2009 parody Pride And Prejudice And Zombies.
It was the year marking the bicentenary of Lincoln's birth and authors Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris were riding high in the best-seller lists with their Twilight and The Southern Vampire Mysteries books.
Seeing displays for these two disparate subjects side by side, Grahame-Smith decided to re-write the personal history of the 16th president of the United States and re-imagine the Civil War as a fight between the Union and the vampire-riddled Confederacy.
A bizarre premise becomes a dull, disjointed slog on the big screen, even with the directorial brio of Kazakhstan-born film-maker Timur Bekmambetov, who encountered the creatures of the night in his special effects-laden hits Night Watch and Day Watch.
Balletic, gravity-defying action sequences arc the blood of the undead at the camera in glorious 3D as the script, adapted by Grahame-Smith himself, lollops through 45 years in Lincoln's life, culminating in The Battle of Gettysburg.
Benjamin Walker is a bland, unappealing hero, almost completely devoid of humour and charm. His seriousness is matched by the rest of the cast, who have all seen better days.
Only elaborate, overblown stunts, including a ludicrous sequence aboard a railroad train and a stampede, are a welcome distraction.