Sure, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” has a great idea: take a famous historical figure and turn him into a killer. If you can overlook this gross injustice and take pleasure in watching vampires get sliced and diced, you’ll likely enjoy this historical horror fantasy.

The premise behind “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is outrageously inaccurate. As anyone who knows anything about history knows, Abraham Lincoln was not a vampire hunter. That job description belonged to James K. Polk, our 11th president. The “K”, of course, stood for “Killah.” But Jabbin’ Jimmy got jobbed. I blame the mainstream media.

However, if you can overlook this gross injustice and take pleasure in watching vampires get sliced and diced, you’ll likely enjoy this historical horror fantasy. That said, if the idea of the Great Emancipator acting like the Great Decapitator riles your sense of decency, you might want to wait for the upcoming Lincoln biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

The film opens with Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) writing in his diary on April 14, 1865, waxing poetic about how history prefers legends to men. Blah, blah, blah. We thus see right from the start that this film is going to take itself seriously, or at least semi-seriously.

You may wonder how a film that poses Lincoln as a vampire hunter can take itself seriously. A little campiness would have gone a long way. Anyway, Lincoln would have done well to keep writing and not go to Ford’s Theater.

The film then flashes back to 1818, when Lincoln was a boy (Lux Haney-Jardine) living in Pigeon Creek, Ind. When he defends a black boy, Will Johnson (Curtis Harris), Lincoln runs afoul of Jack Barts (Marton Csokas), who just happens to be a vampire. Barts kills Lincoln’s mother (Robin McLeavy), and Lincoln seeks vengeance.

Flash forward and an adult Lincoln meets the mysterious Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who tells Lincoln about vampires, teaches him how to kill them and then sends him on a vampire-destroying mission.

In this tale, vampires can handle the sunlight yet are vulnerable to silver. So Lincoln coats his ax blade with silver. Now it would have been a whole lot simpler to just give Lincoln a gun with silver bullets, but that would have ruined the fun of watching Lincoln hack vampires to pieces. Besides, Abe say he doesn’t like guns. He was a rail splitter, don’t you know.

Sturgess also tells Lincoln that one of the rules of vampire hunting is to avoid any social interaction, so one of the first things he does upon arriving in Springfield, Ill., is start a relationship with one Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). She just happens to be engaged to one Stephen A. Douglas (Alan Tudyk). Let the debates begin. Harriet Tubman (Jaqueline Fleming) shows up later, too. Sadly, Vice President Andrew Johnson is a no-show.

Lincoln’s vampire-slaying soon angers the head vampire, Adam (Rufus Sewell), who has taken advantage of slavery in the South by targeting slaves as victims. In the meantime, Lincoln has met up with the adult Will Johnson (Anthony Mackioe) — it’s a small world after all — and after barely escaping a vampire attack, puts his ax away and takes up politics.

He’s soon president of the United States, the Civil War breaks out and the vampires align themselves with the Confederates — Jefferson Davis (John Rothman) approves of the alliance. Southerners might not be whistling Dixie about this union.

Eventually, Lincoln gets drawn back in the fray and takes up his ax again. And there will be blood, black blood in this case.

In addition to problems with tone and common sense, “Vampire” suffers from redundancy. After witnessing the hundredth slow-motion vampire butchering, I started to get the ho-hums. “Oh, there goes another limb. And another. And another.”

Even worse is some of the cheesiest cinematography you’ll ever see in a big-budget film by a big-name cinematographer, Oscar-nominated Caleb Deschanel. For example, the Battle of Gettysburg looks positively amateurish.

Thankfully, action fans can take delight in two superbly shot scenes. One involves a horse stampede and the other a train crossing burning tracks. The former actually makes good use of 3D technology. Still, on the whole, 3D once again underwhelms with the film even stooping to the knife-coming-at-you cliche.

Director Timur Bekmambetov does know his way around vampires. His resume includes the superior “Night Watch.” And these vampires are gruesome. No “Twilight” sweetness here. Bekmambetov is also not shy about filling the screen with gore, and does so for almost two hours.

The film does contain a few humorous touches. A vampire who runs a drugstore sells sun protection balm. And one decapitated vampire gets buried with his head upside down. Oh, the humiliation.

As for the acting, Walker effectively combines the gravitas of a statesman with the brutality of a madman. Just what you want in a president. He looks like a young Liam Neeson. Walker and Winstead display as much chemistry as can be expected in a film which places gore at the forefront.

The film is based on a book by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also penned the screenplay, and clearly the concept looks intriguing. Take a famous historical figure and turn him into a killer. It’s a clever idea that as a film needed a more deft and interpretation. Imagine if Tim Burton, one of the film’s producers, had been the director. I’m actually waiting for another history-altering film where Genghis Khan turns into a peace activist. I may be waiting awhile for that one.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is rated R.

Grade: C+