Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dark Shadows - Review

Dark Shadows is Tim Burton's horror comedy based on an American TV show from the early 70s.  Sadly what could have been a Beetlejuice like comedy riot of a movie fails to measure up.  Despite the wealth of talent in the cast it all feels a bit painted by numbers, gags are sign posted well in advance and Burton fails to make the audience truly love his lead.

Johnny Depp does his best to bring Barnabas Collins, a the two hundred year old vampire to life, but a poor script and not much of a story do little help his chances.  Barnabas has been cursed to be a vampire by a vengeful witch played by Eva Green.  He's promptly locked in a coffin and buried by the horrified town folk only to be awoken by workmen digging a road in the 1970s.  After slaughtering the workmen he sets about restoring the family fishing business and stealing fisherman, from the seemingly immortal witch, who has set up her business opposite his tinning factory.  Yep, vampires and fishing boats.  Quite the heady mix...

Burton's misstep is to show us Depp killing folk to drink their blood.  We see too much, judge the character early and therefore fail to care if he gets caught or brings the witch down.

Sadly though it's Burton's failure to make us laugh that really jars.  What could have been a very funny film ends up being like a very pretty, but horribly vacuous, ex-girlfriend.  And it is pretty, make no mistake, Burton still knows how to do killer looks, what a pity he can't do substance.

Avoid.
★★☆☆☆