Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies Movie Review
Directed by Richard Schenkman
Written by Karl T. Hirsch and J. Lauren Proctor
2012, Region 1 (NTSC), 96 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on May 29th, 2012
Bill Oberst Jr. as Abraham Lincoln
Chris Hlozek as Major McGill
Jason Vail as John Wilkinson
Baby Norman as Mary Owens
Christopher Marrone as Pat Garrett
Canon Kuipers as Young Teddy Roosevelt
Abraham Lincoln was introduced to the horrors of zombies at a young age and vowed to dedicate his life to destroying them whenever the occasion presented itself. As President, while working on the Gettysburg Address during the Civil War, word of a captured soldier acting in a peculiar manner brought unease to the leader. Abe honestly believed what no one else suspected and resumed the practice of killing zombies to defend the nation.
In Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, President Lincoln assembles a group of twelve men who will help him discover what has happened at a local fort that has abruptly ceased all communications. This band of “secret service” agents makes its way to its destination, only to find it filled with the walking dead. Lincoln’s lost love Mary Owens and her sister Hannah are hiding out nearby with a young man named Teddy Roosevelt, intent on helping do their part in defending the country. The group makes its way back to base and forms a plan to defeat this zombie menace that threatens the land.
The undead are not the only obstacle in our heroes’ way for a mysterious actor named John Wilkinson holds a secret that may shift the balance of power into the hands of the Confederacy. Before long, circumstances have changed and the President discovers he is in a position of dire consequence, requiring an unorthodox resolution if the United States is to be given a fair chance at surviving this zombie outbreak.
Ahhh, The Asylum, my old friend. Ever eager to jump on someone else’s train and grab a few dollars along the way to the bank, the intended target this time is the Hollywood production Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, opening just a few short weeks after this direct-to-video release. With a budget reportedly hovering around $150,000, there is little on screen to negate the charges of this being a clumsy grab for cash. Practical locations provide what little production value is to be found, but this is quickly undone by the abundance of blatant green-screen backgrounds and shoddy CGI decapitations and blood spatter.
The script is stronger than expected, despite bogging down in the occasional history lesson or attempt at being clever with embarrassing coincidences along the way. I was pleased that the screenwriters pointed the script towards what would clearly have been an awesome conclusion had the director chosen to film just one last implied scene. It is unfortunate that Lincoln is obligated to cross paths with so many familiar names along his journey, in that it removes any genuine suspense of harm befalling a kid whom audiences know will one day grow up to be President, too.
Wardrobe is also surprisingly respectable in reproduction, at least for the male cast members. But while the ladies’ dresses are a bit anachronistic in nature, the men suffer the most for the laughable facial hair that most endure. General Jackson’s beard is particularly funny and there are a few moustaches that risk falling off throughout the film. While some elements of production seem more akin to a high-school play, the sincerity of putting on a good show is still evident.
The silliest aspect of this feature is the odd casting of the title role with Asylum veteran Bill Oberst Jr (A Haunting in Salem). It is painfully obvious that the actor is of slight stature and stands only 5’8” compared to Lincoln’s 6’5” frame. Several attempts to disguise the lack of height by framing him on an incline or filming from a low-angle to make the actor appear taller are serviceable but are quickly undone by any change in camera angle. Lincoln changes size more frequently than Godzilla or the monster from Cloverfield. Viewers may wish to make a drinking game of every time the little Lincoln appears to be walking on blocks.
Director Richard Schenkman does a serviceable job in delivering a quick knock-off picture, but outside of keeping the story moving at a decent pace there is really nothing to commend in his efforts that are not more rightly credited to his cinematographer or editor. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies is moderately entertaining as it plays out for 90 minutes, but instantly forgettable as soon as the closing credits run. Nothing to see here, kids…move along.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.