I would be lying if I said I was a fan of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp partnership. Sleepy Hollow and The Corpse Bride are their only collaberations that I have voluntarily watched more than once.
I had no prior knowledge of Dark Shadows as I was lucky enough to miss all televised promotion but alas the price of having very good friends, who had the foresight to bring me a rather fantastic present, means that I didn’t escape the one hour fifty minute monstrosity that was Dark Shadows.
PLOT: Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) is turned into a vampire and buried alive by spurned lover and immortal witch Angelique (Eva Green). One hundred and ninety six years later
the film ends Barnabus is released from his coffin and he moves back into the family home with his oh so quirky family. Barnabus and Angelique go to war to see who can run the most successful fishmongers. There is a love story but Burton didn’t bother developing it so I don’t see why I should write about it. The Collins family kill the witch in the entrance with a chandelier. END PLOT
The plot of Dark Shadows is nonexistent. It jumps around all over the place with the main Collins family being totally underused, the love interest being forgotten about for large chunks of the film and the unexpected introduction of werewolves in the final act. It felt as though the writer had put a selection of plot points in a hat and just picked out five at random to form the basis of his script.
The tone of Dark Shadows is as uneven as the script as it couldn't find a balance between bright/quirky and dark/gothic. The comedy was half-baked and lazy. The fish out of water theme got old extremely quickly and although Johnny Depp can speak quickly in ye olde American it began to grate very quickly.
The potential was there – the “Top of the World” montage of the Collins family rebuilding their factory worked very well but for every section that worked we got several than didn’t. The love scene between Barnabus and Angelique was woefully ill-conceived.
I am not a Johnny Depp fan and I will repeat my usual proclamation that if all his performances are quirky none of them fucking are. His shtick is as tiring as Burton’s film making.
Eva Green took overacting to catastrophic levels and the rest of the cast, which boasts names such as Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer, are so underused I don’t know why they bothered showing up.
Chloe Moretz is going to have a long and successful career ahead of her but at the minute she is fourteen years old. There were occasions that she was over sexualised and acted far older than her years. It was unnecessary.
Dark Shadows is an over stylish and empty mess but these are not the films greatest faults as Dark Shadows had the audacity to be one of the most boring films I have had the misfortune of sitting through.
Hopefully Dark Shadows spells the end of Burton and Depps relationship. They had little to offer in the first place but now there is no barrel left to scrape. Dark Shadows get a 2/10. If The Hobbit trailer didn’t play before the film began it would have scored lower.