This one’s worth checking out.

Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins.

Amusing; pretty to look at

Whatever are you up to this time Tim Burton? Is this going to be your way of repairing the damaged ceated by Twilight and make vampires manly again or is it going to be the same old quirky gothic Johnny Depp-flick? I saw the film Dark Shadows to find out. This is my late review.

I will say that based on what I knew before I saw it, I had high expectations. The visuals looked pretty, the jokes seemed funny and it featured three of my favourite actors – Jackie Earle Haley, Chloë Moretz and Johnny Depp. What could go wrong, eh?

Based on a smilarly titled 70’s soap opera, Dark Shadows is the story of the wealthy Barnabas Collins (Depp). In the year 1760, he gets his girlfriend Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote) murdered by an envious witch named Angelique Bouchard (played by Eva Green), who wanted Barnabas to herself. She punishes him even further by turning hom into a vampire, causing the townsfolk of Collinsport to turn on him and eventually bury his immortal body.

We then jump ahead to the 1970’s. We join Victoria Winters (also played by Heathcote) as she travels to Collinwood Manor for a place to work. The family, descendants of Barnabas, are a quirky lot. There’s the intelligent matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), her brother Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller), her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn (Moretz), Roger’s prank-prone son David (Gulliver McGrath), the snarky family psychiatrist Dr. Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) and their often drunken caretaker Loomis (Haley).

Things get even more quirky when their vampiric ancestor finally rises from the grave and is confused about the time era. Nevertheless, Barnabus moves in with the Collins/Stoddard family and Victoria’s similarities with Josette makes him fall in love with her. Not a good idea, because Angelique, more jealous and horny than ever, has also returned. Hilarity ensues… but not that much.

Some smaller parts are given to the likes of Christopher Lee and there’s an Alice Cooper cameo in there as well. I’m not sure about Lee being cast as a drunken sailor.

But the film does have much to offer in terms of performances, certainly. Chloë Moretz is funny and charming (she is the new Dakota Fanning I’d say), Jackie Earle Haley does a usually fine job, Helena Bonham Carter inspires many laughs and Johnny Depp is just as pich-perfect as one can expect. There are some sincerely funny scenes where his charcter reacts to modern pop culture.

However, as Dark Shadows progresses the funniness begins to wear off a bit and the film becomes boring to a degree before its credits start scrolling. Although it’s not so bad it harms the film or makes it unwatchable. It is certainly a more enjoyable and smart picture than Tim Burton’s other recent hit Alice in Wonderland, which had only the visuals going for it. Dark Shadows is both visual and witty, plus it keeps the viewer interested with both investing and funny acting.

True, it may not be a masterpiece that one should rush to see or Tim Burton’s most ingenious film since Ed Wood, but tht doesn’t stop it from being worth a few minutes of your time. But then again, by the time I finally get this review released it’s probably not being screened anymore and most of you have already seen it so whatever.

The phrase, I believe is “this movie is okay”.

3.5/5 whatever

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