Friday Flicks: What Says Summer More than a Movie Called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

Grab some popcorn and check out the movies you should see (or avoid) this weekend.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Tagline: President by day. Hunter by night.

Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the history-horror mashup novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, gets to adapt his own book for the screen (ka-ching!) in a film that purports to delve into the legendary American president’s secret journals. What do we learn? Only that “Honest Abe” had a double life as history’s greatest ever hunter of the undead.

Tasked with bringing the story to the big screen is Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov, the auteur behind the Russian-language vampire flick Night Watch and the 2008 Angelina Jolie thriller Wanted.

But if ALVH can even begin to match the creative (and downright fun) of Night Watch (which if you haven’t seen, you really should do something about ASAP) then all might not be lost. Sadly a 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t augur well. “The historical epic and the monster movie run on parallel tracks, occasionally colliding but never forming a coherent whole,” writes TIME’s Richard Corliss. “This cod-historical horror movie … is long on speculation, emancipation and decapitation, but is essentially a lot of balls,” amusingly notes Time Out London. But Roger Ebert strikes a rare voice of hope for Bekmambetov by concluding that “what it achieves is a surprisingly good job of doing justice to its title, and treating Lincoln with as much gravity as we can expect, under the circumstances.”

TIME REVIEW: TIME’s Richard Corliss Gives His Verdict

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