Four years after Twilight first hit the big screen, America's obsession with vampires is taking a confounding turn with the upcoming release of the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Based on a book of the same whiplash-inducing name, the genre-melding movie puts a supernatural spin on U.S. history by setting Honest Abe on a mission to hunt down the vampires who killed his mother. The trailer for the film was released Tuesday (watch the clip below), offering a first glimpse at the action-packed movie, which will be released June 22. Does it have the potential to ride the seemingly immortal popularity of vampires and become "the next Twilight?" Or will it go the way of the last genre mash-up, Cowboys and Aliens, and confuse audiences too much to succeed?
This movie looks ridiculous... and fun: This film treads tricky ground, says Steven James Snyder at TIME. The book itself is a "vampire spoof," so the movie has the difficult job of working as "both horror film and comedy," as well as an action-packed summer tentpole. The trailer is full of "goofy, glorious stuff" — in other words, it appears to strike the right balance. The most tantalizing, ridiculous, and satisfying scene: With a single ax throw, the Great Emancipator obliterates a tree trunk into a million pieces. "Bring it on."
"Exclusive first look — Official trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"
Fun? It just looks ridiculous: Give me a break, says Ethan Anderton at First Showing. An ax-wielding Honest Abe exploding a tree? It makes no sense. "Then again, neither does our 16th president hunting vampires." It really is hard to get over the conceit that one of our nation's greatest presidents lived to "crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers." I'm still curious to see how the film turns out. But the "ridiculous" trailer is not inspiring.
"Watch: Teaser trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"
Either way, it may be doomed: Vampire Hunter is late to the party, says Matt Kiebus at Death and Taxes. "The niche audience for this strange sub-genre seems to have vanished as quickly as it appeared," with perplexing genre mash-ups like the sci-fi-western Cowboys and Aliens crashing and burning at the box office. The only hope for Vampire Hunter is that the "seemingly boundless action sequences" in the trailer and the presence of Tim Burton as producer will somehow lure people to the theater.
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer: Honest Abe slays bloodsuckers"