As Abraham Lincoln labors over the Gettysburg address, the importance of which he is fully aware, he learns that a menace from his past has returned, threatening to tear the already fractured nation to pieces. He must journey behind enemy lines to face an foe far more fearsome than the Confederate army: the walking dead.Written by
The Colt Navy revolver used by the characters Hawkins, Chamberlin and Pike in "Abraham Lincoln Versus Zombies" were all the same gun which is owned by Nathaniel Grauwelman (Hawkins) and bought for the grind house film he wrote. See more »
While clearing the town of zombies, a small tanker trailer with rubber tires is seen in the background in several scenes. See more »
[kneeling and praying]
"Lord, I beseech you. Grant me wisdom, to see the way clear. Let me help these Walking Dead, find their final resting place. Help me to end their torture and misery. To show them the way to Your Eternal forgiveness. Amen."
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Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies makes it two one-star films in two days. All is not good in the world of The Squiss. However, there are vast differences between the states of Iron Sky (yesterday's one-star film) and Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies, not least of all the budget. That Iron Sky had just under $9.5m compared to ALVZ's budget of $150,000 at least makes most of the latter's mistakes forgivable if not watchable.
The lack of budget makes the anachronisms understandable; it's very difficult to ensure the sets are perfectly authentic when the budget forces the use of available locations rather than custom-built sets. Believable prosthetics also cost mucho $$$ and so head of make-up Renonda Anderson makes the most of her greasepaint and fake blood. Her work qualifies for a C+ but it's a pity director Richard Shenkman didn't take Spielberg's Jaws approach of showing as little as possible so as to make the rubber shark more menacing.
What is unforgivable, and completely unrelated to budget, is the poor, and at time shocking, acting from principals and background artists alike. There isn't even any consistency with the movement of the zombies and that would have instantly improved the viewing experience. There's an awful lot of hamming it up and even more instances of walk, talk, turn head, talk, facial expression, talk Yes, there are some god-awful amateurs out there, and I've received some quality hate mail from reviews and features I've published in the past highlighting them (if demand is high, I'll re-publish them on this blog sometime), and the majority of Abraham Lincoln vs Zombie's cast is equal to them. Whilst there is variation in the performances, the variety on offer is ham, wooden, awkward and dire and there are slipped accents aplenty.
The exception, thank goodness, is Bill Oberst Jr. playing the titular character. He's not famous, he isn't mind-blowingly good and according to his IMDb page has worked since 2007 largely playing unnamed or single-monikered characters in short films and individual episodes of TV series. However, with 18 projects in pre-production, post-production or awaiting release Oberst Jr. must be doing something right and is quite likely to continue working for a while yet. While Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies is a dreadful film, because of the ineptitude surrounding him, Oberst Jr. stands head and shoulders, both literally and figuratively, above his fellow cast members.
What else is wrong with it? How long do you have, or rather, how much interest do you have in it? It isn't graded properly, it jars with the period, the sound mix is poor, the editing is lazy and the timing is mostly awful. It looks as cheap as it is but I'm giving it two stars (rather than nowt) because Shenkman has made the best of the shoddy materials on offer. He's only getting two stars, though, because he could have found better actors at the local high school and even Barbara Cartland could have written a more dramatic screenplay despite being more dead and less animated than the zombies on screen.
That said, Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies could turn out to be a very good calling card for Shenkman, for all its stodge. Just look what A Fistful of Fingers did for Edgar Wright. Now there's a man who knows how to shoot zombies!
Another film review from The Squiss. For more reviews from The Squiss subscribe to my blog at www.thesquiss.co.uk
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