Monday, 30 September 2013

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies - review

2012 (USA)


Contains mild spoilers.

I'll be honest, this was one I wasn't particularly looking forward to what with The Asylum's mockbuster mentality and Abraham Lincoln vs. The Vampires itself being quite the ludicrous low budget affair with little to shout about.

History has its secrets. The one director Richard Schenkman would like to tell us, all happened one week before Abraham Lincoln (Bill Oberst Jr.) addressed Gettysburg. Interviewing the deranged sick soul survivor of a covert military special op called 'Big Shanty' which Lincoln sent to secure Fort Pulaski and further the southern blockade, Lincoln learns that a dark damning infection that took his parents has returned. Feeling he, with his previous knowledge, is best suited to tackle the problem and that all this could potentially be more important than the war itself, puts together a crack team of his twelve best secret-operatives and heads off to quash the problem.

Yes, Abe Lincoln killed his own zombie mother and is now personally, scythe in hand, going to march headlong into enemy territory and capture a fort of strategic importance that's bursting at the seems with undead flesh eaters. I've come across some audaciously stupid ideas in my time but this is right up there. Now these days, I'm quite used to a wee bit of lunacy, and the modern zombie does tend to lend itself quite easily to the crass and cheap action horror flick. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies though seems to have forgotten that ludicrously ambitious should, more often than not come hand in hand with equally over the top directing, acting and effects, and not, as is the case, steadfast seriousness. It's audaciousness comes not so much for the story it's trying to tell but the manner in which it goes all about it; it's President Abraham Fucking Lincoln, scything down zombies and skywiring from exploding forts and yet it all feels rather dry and grey presented as if I'm expected to nod rather than bellow at.

From the march to the fort to the first fight with the zombies and the few surviving confederates under command of General Stonewall Jackson (Don McGraw) to the final grand last stand, some one hour later, the combat, which makes up the bulk of the narrative, is methodical, bland, repetitive and by the number. The band of brothers Lincoln takes with him are all instantly forgettable civil war era tropes with bland dialogue, ridiculous false facial hair and lack-lustre b-movie performances. Bill Oberst Jr. himself isn't that bad as Lincoln putting in a performance at least recognisable to a character so routinely caricatured, but up against McGraw's exaggerated Monty Python-esque portrayal of General Jackson, which is both hilarious and painful, I might be being overly generous.

I'll say one thing for it, there's quite a few zombies and they do kind of all move in sync and look ok. Other than that there's not a lot to talk about. They're your typical western trope; shuffling, stumbling, biting when they get close and they're interested in passing the infection along at the any given opportunity. From a bite or scratch, the infection we learn takes about twenty four hours to fully take over with zombification causing the gradual degradation of brain and body function until the victim dies, and looks for someone to eat. The one addition, or deviation from the prescribed model is that the undead 'sleep' once they've run out of things to chase. They call it a 'standing slumber' which I quite like if I'm honest and it does lead too a few Blind Dead stealth moments that breaks the monotonous to-oing and fro-ing and killing the soldiers do between fort and town and fort and barn and fort but it's not nearly enough. It's also another one of those affairs where the zombies move so slowly you do wonder how such an elite crack force could succumb so easily. It's as if each set action piece required a certain number of zombie deaths and a certain quota of survivors to die before Schenkman could move the gang to the next combat arena where it could all rinse and repeat. It's lazy, lacking any integrity, cohesiveness or spark and the formula never deviates.

I've seen Schenkman describe Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies as terrible but in the best possible way and he's fifty percent right. Over drawn out weak dialogue, repetitive bland combat, pedestrian pacing and a story so lacking any real content it's yet another straight to TV zombie film to avoid. While the change to the Civil War period is at least refreshing the manner in which it's all been exploited leaves a lot to be desired. There are a few moments of unintentional hilarity but I always felt I was laughing at the film rather than with it and ludicrousness of the whole proposition is all rather lost in the languid serious tone the film adopts. All rather ponderous and forgettable and another The Asylum zombie stinker I'll only up-mark for a bugle playing General Jackson that needs to be seen to be believed, 3/10.

Steven@WTD.

8 comments:

  1. I flat out hated this movie. Everything that is wrong with the modern day zombie movie.

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  2. jimmie t. murakami30 September 2013 at 23:50

    Stilll a thousand times better than anything the British film industry has ever produced ! ! !.

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  3. the sayer of the truth30 September 2013 at 23:55

    Jimmie is absolutely right, those limey morons could learn so much from The Asylum, like "how to make a movie that is at least mediocre", because those British idiots cant even do that ! ! !.

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  4. Presumably the 0-10 ratings system equates to the following:

    10 = Unmittigated genius beyond all imagining, only a few films
    in history would be worthy of this rating.

    9 = Quite simply, a masterwork.

    8 = Brilliant, superb, marvellous, ect, but still not quite good enough
    to be a masterpiece.

    7 = Much better than good but still not quite good enough to be great.

    6 = slightly better that good, but not by much.

    5 = a good solid entertaining film but still nothing special.

    4 = better than mediocre, just a shade away from being a good film.

    3 = a mediocre movie.

    2 = mostly garbage bit it just missed out on being mediocre.

    1 = laughable crap, but still not totally unwatchable.

    0 = a completely unwatchable abomination, no redeeming qualitys what-so-ever.

    would that be a good summation of the ratings system ?.

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  5. Yes it would, and from now on every British movie i reveiw will rightfully recieve the zero rating.

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  6. GREAT ! ! !.

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    Replies
    1. Haha; I'll give you all that, brilliant.

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