Yes, you read the title right. Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies! Not to be mistaken for the recent big budget Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie released in cinemas, this “mockbuster,” (what they call straight to DVD knockoffs or spinoffs of blockbuster movies), was produced by The Asylum Productions and stars Bill Oberst Jr. in the title role. If you haven’t heard about him, its because Oberst is better known for his theatrical portrayals than his long list of low budget movie starrers.
Anyway, while Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter features the American president as a young man, Lincoln vs. Zombies is centered around the time prior to his assasination by John Wilkes Booth, and get this! His zombie-killing ways is connected to it.
The movie starts off with a brief background of Abe as a young boy who is forced to kill his own mother because his father commits suicide. Apparently, Abe’s mom turns into a zombie and his dad couldn’t deal with it so he asks his son to end his wife with a scythe that the family keeps handy in case of zombie infestation. Fast forward to many decades later when Abe is finally president, he receives a report that a Union solider has returned after his entire army of 30 men was killed by an unknown affliction while trying to seize a Confederate stronghold, Fort Pulaski. While interviewing the survivor, the President immediately recognizes the affliction as the same one his mother suffered from and, armed with his retractable scythe, asks that a group of 12 agents accompany him to the Fort to contain the possible outbreak of zombies.
For a low budget movie with a farfetched premise, I must say that I enjoyed this movie very much. Its the sort of mindless horror that makes no sense with an overacting cast whose fake beards and mustaches are so obvious that it’s laughable. There are great moments of cinematography, mostly the tight shots on Abe after he beheads a zombie or two. The quality of the film is also quite good. Compared to other zombie movies, this is shot mostly in the day so without the cover of darkness, it is obvious that the team is scrimping on extras as only a few zombies loiter around the area near the fort. There is no obvious sense of urgency because how can one really take a group of dudes wearing ribbons on their necks seriously as saviors or action heroes?
Anyways, considering all its setbacks, I could not say that the movie was lacking in appeal. Oberst’s theater background worked for him (he also played other American presidents and even Jesus Christ on the stage) as he was able to incorporate Honest Abe’s mannerisms in his portrayal of his zombie hating version. I also appreciated the story being linked to the Civil War (which I know very little of) and featuring other key characters in American history such as General Stonewall Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and John Wilkes Booth in the movie. It was ridiculous but it kinda worked — somewhat.
All in all, it was a good effort for The Asylum — actually one of the best that I’ve seen from the studio so far. One thing’s for sure, I will never look at Honest Abe in the same way again.