DARK SHADOWS starts out as a series drama
(about over 200 years ago) in the typical Gothic Tim Burton matter before it tries to be both a gonzo comedy and a gothic
drama. Fans of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton might be satisfied, but fans
of either TV series of DARK SHADOWS will be throwing their arms up in disdain.
If this movie was called anything other than DARK SHADOWS, it might have been a better film. I enjoyed it, but this film isn’t the movie adaptation of DARK SHADOWS I signed up for. Depp and Burton
have struck movie gold with EWARD SCISSORHANDS, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and SWEENEY TODD.
However, DARK SHADOWS is one of their misfires. Johnny Depp is more
of a persona than a character in this film while Tim Burton focuses more on the visuals instead of making sure the script
worked so some of the blame falls on Seth Grahame-Smith (writer of ABRAHAM
LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER). Also Tim should have reined Johnny in a little. Sometimes the gonzo persona of Johnny works and sometimes you the director has
to know how to shape it.
The film starts out promising enough only
to leave a dozen characters underdeveloped and focusing solely on the vampire adjusting to a new time (1972) story with Eva
Green vamping it up as Angelique/ Angel (who cursed Barnabas Collins to be a vampire).
Sometimes the jokes fall flat (like the Carpenter woman in the box, Barnabas thinking Alice
cooper is the ugliest girl he knows) while others strike gold (birthing hips, the very acrobatic PG-13 love scene). Then you have characters who start out with stories that almost have enough to make them fully developed
like Victoria Winters (please call her Vickie) and I do think the actress playing her has the right chops to play Victoria
for Burton’s movie (and yet I wanted DARK SHADOWS to be something more serious and gothic horror than what Tim Burton
did to the material). Still by making DRAK SHADOWS a gothic comedy of sorts,
it makes me want to watch the 1990s revival TV series and check out the original 1960s gothic soap opera. I really wish a proper DARK SHADOWS movie was made for modern audiences, but this adaptation
by Tim Burton may have doomed those chances to the grave.
This movie review is ©5-15-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to email@example.com