There is a certain category of films that I personally like to call “cash-in films”. Most of these films are made by the infamous Asylum company, and “Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies” is one of those “cash-in films”.
As you might know, soon a based-on-a-novel “Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter” film comes out, and the Asylum here “cashes-in” on the blockbuster by releasing their own “version” of the story earlier than the blockbuster. Here, the 16th president of the United States battles zombies, instead of vampires.
Now usually these “cash-in films” are never given a chance. In this particular case, its either “Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies…what can be worse?!” or “Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies…what can be better?!”, and the majority will of course skip this, and wait for the $70 million blockbuster from 20th Century Fox.
Since I never liked vampires, and the whole idea of “low-bugdet Abe Lincoln battling zombies” just sounded too good to me, I went for the “cash-in movie” this time. And…Lincoln proves he can take on not just vampires, but undead flesh eaters as well!
The story starts off with young Lincoln witnessing his mother turning into a zombie, and the kid has to finish her off with a scythe. Enraged by the fact that he had to kill his own mother, Lincoln breaks the scythe in two, and then we move forward right into the times of the Civil War, where Lincoln is already a bearded president, thinking new strategy on how to defeat the Confederate forces.
All of a sudden undead soldiers start appearing, and Lincoln’s people have no idea how to handle them. President himself though is not to be scared off easily as he quickly takes out a “sawed-off scythe” and sends zombies back to hell.
After that, Lincoln decides to assemble a group of highly trained professionals that would go on, investigate this “decease” and stop it before it spreads further. Since Lincoln’s best man got bitten, and turned into a zombie and had to be killed, Lincoln decides to do the unspeakable – lead the group himself. Eventually he does so.
Through the next hour and a half, the calmly-talking but tough-as-nails president of the U.S. will fight the zombies, join forces with Confederates against the undead, meet his old love and treason as well.
Abraham Lincoln in the film is played by Bill Oberst Jr., who is mostly known for his portrayals of insane, vicious killers in horror movies, however here he’s the Abe Lincoln we’re rooting for. Despite not seeing any other movies where Abraham Lincoln is portrayed (Black Dynamite doesn’t count), I loved Oberst’s performance as Lincoln.
There was nothing in his performance that made me believe it was not Abraham Lincoln. Oberst himself said the director (Richard Schenkman) gave him a few tips: “Schenkman showed me how to swing the scythe, so I give him full credit if any of that looked good.”
Good or not – by the end of the day, the scythe gets the job done. So does the whole film, on its own level. With a jaw-dropping budget of some $150,000 (as stated on IMDB) director Richard Schenkman managed to make an entertaining zombie movie that is anything but boring.
Yes, just like any low-budget film, there are flaws (quite a lot of CGI, some continuity errors), but overall for that amount of money, the film looks great. Not only that, the $150,000 film will also hit the theaters on May 29.
To sum it up – This Asylum “cash-in movie” scores. I was entertained, the film packs quite enough of “zombie action”, and Abraham Lincoln looks darn cool.
I’d fight alongside such a president that’s not afraid to get his hands dirty by killing zombies! Give it a chance, and don’t forget to switch off your brain before watching. A short teaser trailer is below.
BZFILM SCALE: 5/10
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