Running Time: 113 minutes
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Christopher Lee, Bella Heathcote
Directed By: Tim Burton
Rating: 2 out of 10
The Collins family is dysfunctional and on the verge of financial ruin. That is until a descendant shows up to fix their woes. There is only one problem though and that is he is a vampire.
When dealing with tales of the occult or the macabre it is never a wise choice to look into dark shadows. The shadows are often filled with things that are terrible or unappealing. Those two descriptive words are really this movie in a nutshell. Not in a gross or sickening way just that this movie plain sucked. Dark Shadows is a movie about a vampire named Barnabas Collins. He has been imprisoned for nearly 200 years and gets accidentally released. He returns to his ancestral home where his descendants are in need of some serious help both financially and mentally.
I am going to take a deep breath to calm myself before writing this review. I don’t want to swear or go off on some sort of Tim Burton tangent. So here we go. This movie is both bizarre and odd and not even remotely fun or worthwhile. Dark Shadows is based on an American gothic soap opera from the 60’s and 70’s. I can easily say it should have stayed in that era. I have never heard of that soap but it is not hard to deduce it must have been awful. Just like the Fantastic Four are dated comic book characters that don’t translate well to the big screen, Dark Shadows is a film that had no business being made for that same reason. The film starts and we are treated to Barnabas Collins origin and how he became imprisoned as a vampire. Flash forward 200 years and he is back to aid his dysfunctional descendants at his ancestral mansion. The film is loaded with stupid characters and just a terrible story. The film which is set in the 1970’s relies heavily on tired and dated humor. Most of the jokes stem from Barnabas’s funny speech and unawares of social graces and technological advances. Him seeing cars and televisions and equating it with instruments of the devil is just plain dumb. Obviously this film is not to be taken seriously but Barnabas looks like a walking cadaver and no one comments on it. He also sometimes is affected by sunlight while other times he is not. Through it all though you could care less about him or his family member’s curse and more importantly this film is not funny.
Barnabas Collins played by Johnny Depp was okay in the role. He looked great but his performance is somewhat stale. His constant recurring roles with Director Tim Burton seemed to make his roles from movie to movie indiscernible from each other. Frankly I might be tired of Depp with his relation to Burton as his performances are not unique or special anymore.
The Collins family does a good job for the most part with such a terrible script. The only standout in this film for me was Angelique Bouchard played by Eva Green. Her portrayal of a jilted lover was quirky enough to be enjoyable and had moments of being great.
As the film goes from scene to scene it will be hard not to turn off this film. The Collins family is a blend of the Munsters meet the Royal Tenenbaums and that is not a good mix. The only nice thing I can say about this film is the soundtrack is surprisingly strong. A blend of familiar rock tunes blast out right through this film. Seeing a vampire walk through a bar with Crocodile Rock playing in the background is a nice touch. As the film comes to a close I can remember laughing twice tops to this poorly constructed film. The Collins may battle to save their family’s respectable name or even their lives but they never battle to win over the viewer.
Director Tim Burton has been a very up and down director. His penchant for doing dark films is obviously well known. That being said his take on storylines and darker cinematography are not always appreciated. This was a complete miss for me. Try something new already Tim. Cast someone else besides Depp and your wife Bonham Carter. Play with light and things that walk on the living green earth. With such a solid cast this film should not be bad but it was. Everything in this film was off except for the musical score and that is a pretty big problem.
I cannot recommend this film. I know this is the time of the vampire, but really I am not sure how many more crappy vampire films I can sit through.
T Factor + If you like Tim Burton as a Director this could score way higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Depp as an actor this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Addams Family, Fright Night