If you thought that slave owners were behind the kidnapping of Africans and working them to death on American plantations, you’d be mistaken; it was actually vampires. If you assumed that the American civil war was between the slave owning South and the more liberal North, you are wrong; the South was in fact run by vampires. If you thought that Lincoln was merely a president, you are in for a major shock; he, like Buffy, was secretly a vampire hunter, except he was a lot less quip and used an axe instead of a stake.

The film’s rewriting of history allows for very ugly undertones. Our society isn’t exactly passed racial issues and writing a version of history in which racism is almost completely written off as the province of mythical creatures is a little disturbing.

Anyway, back to the plot. Lincoln’s (Walker) mother is killed in front of him as a child. He grows up completely consumed by vengeance as he bides his time until the day he can finally seek revenge. His chance comes and he discovers that the murderer was a vampire. Seemingly by chance, he meets a man named Henry Sturgess (Cooper) who purports to be a vampire hunter and he agrees to teach Lincoln the tricks of the trade in exchange for his word that he’ll only kill the vampires he tells him to kill. Lincoln soon discovers that vampires are behind the slave trade and he vows to put down his axe and take out their food source using the law. Along with his childhood friend Will Johnson (Mackie) and his employer Joshua Speed (Simpson), he starts a fight that will see him as the president of a country being torn apart by a civil war.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is all about the spectacle. The film’s pretty violent and a big chunk of the fights are in slow motion - better to showcase the swishing blades and hacked-off heads with. It’s full of big action pieces that look great in 3D, the best of which is saved till last. And while the film definitely looks great and is visually reminiscent of Wanted, the director’s last film, it lacks a sense of fun.

Turning Lincoln into a vampire slayer is beyond ridiculous and the film never once acknowledges that, instead choosing to be sombre, ultra-serious and almost devoid of humour. Having said that though, the film does have a decent supporting cast, with Cooper standing out as Lincoln’s shadowy mentor. Walker however seems rather blank and fails to imbue his character with any gravitas or charisma.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is for people who are content with being entranced by jaw dropping visuals. If you’re looking for an engaging story or characters though, look elsewhere. It would have been ok had this film made peace with the sheer absurdity of its premise. What we have instead is a stupid, but pretty, film that takes itself far too seriously.