The zombie genre has been bludgeoned to death – no pun intended. Endless movies and endless video games of mindlessness surrounding a bad guy that could be defeated by simply climbing over a fence.
However, it’s not often you see “historic” zombies flicks. Zombies in another time period? An awesome idea, but in some ways, Abraham Lincoln Versus Zombies (2012) could have been that fresh breath we needed to revive the genre.
It could have been so good.
The movie kicks off with a little bit of Lincoln’s past. His mother was taken by the virus, and little Linc had to dispose of her with something that would soon become his signature weapon – a scythe.
Year later, during the heat of the American Civil War, the virus flares up again, consuming soldiers from both sides and causing widespread panic. Lincoln decides to take matters into his own hands, and leads a selective, small group of highly trained soldiers – essentially the 1860s’ version of a black ops team – past enemy lines to investigate the zombie-infested Fort Pulaski.
The acting was a major detriment to the film, but the root of all problems is always the script. You have a bad script, then no amount of money you throw at it is going to make it good. However, the acting was pretty atrocious on its own account. If you replaced most of these actors with bricks, you wouldn’t know the difference. It’s like they reached down to the very bottom of the Z-list barrel and said to themselves, “Perfect.” The only thing that wasn’t entirely terrible was Bill Oberst Jr and Baby Norman who plays Lincoln’s old lover-turned-prostitute (ew, nasty), but asides from that, the rest of it was the same ol’ Asylum garbage.
I must give them credit where credit is due. The usage of actual Civil War reenactments to bolster their production value was pretty ingenious. While the zombie makeup was generic and a bit boring, they made do with what they had – which wasn’t a lot. And unlike a lot of zombie films, the characters in this film weren’t afraid to use the z-word. They even paid homage to the zombie origins by telling us a little bit of its African roots. It was a small gesture, but as a zombie-fan, I appreciated it.
Lesson learned: Scythes are the best weapons to have during a zombie apocalypse. Also, John Wilkes Booth was part of the Confederate Secret Service, and killed the President because it was for the greater good of the South.
Yes, the poor acting, the questionable facial hair, the terrible one-liners (“EMANCIPATE THIS! HYAH!”) and Abe’s disgusting glued-on mole left much to be desired. It could have benefited from a lighter tone and more comedy – I mean, how’s a b-horror any good if it doesn’t make you laugh? But if you take it for what it is, a low-budget zombie movie with scythe-wielding Abraham Lincoln as the titular character, you’ll have a great time.