Would you let a vampire into your house?
I walked into this film expecting another successful Tim Burton /Johnny Depp collaboration because it looked like one and sounded like one, yet something was missing.
One of the worst things to hear following a movie was that it was boring. One of the great outcomes for a film to achieve is to take you somewhere, to transport you and make you forget about your surroundings.
Usually when director Tim Burton creates a film he does a wonderful job of creating atmosphere. He creates characters and places in such a way to make it all very unique. Though some of his films may appear bizarre he always manages to provide a witty charm at its heart. However, with this film, the story seemed empty, but not nearly as empty as its characters.
This film features Johnny Depp as a vampire named Barnabas who is awakened after being cursed by an evil witch, played by Eva Green, who overacts a lot throughout this movie. Barnabas awakens in 1972 and attempts to rebuild the family's name. That's pretty much it. There are a few obvious chuckles related to a vampire's attempts to fit into a '70s culture. However, this film relies heavily on the same jokes over and over again, and let's just say that the novelty wears out pretty quick. The audience is left to wonder why there isn't more of a reaction from the regular characters regarding a real vampire in town.
For the most part, there is not one likeable character in this whole film. Now there are some films that are chalked full of unlikeable characters but many times those characters still remain interesting, sometimes more interesting than the protagonist. That keeps our attention. But in "Dark Shadows" case, it seems none of the characters want us to like them. They are all mean and conspire against one another. I felt that some of the side characters such as Chloe Moretz as the daughter and Jackie Earle Haley as the caretaker, have a few moments where they shine but their performances are pushed to the side and are wasted on cheap laughs and campy dialogue.
In the end, this film was an opportunity missed. Tim Burton assembled a great cast with a potentially fun concept that goes nowhere fast and relies on cheap jokes and wasted talent to get there. Sorry folks, not even an Alice Cooper cameo can save this one.
Two stars out of Four. Rated PG-13. Running time 113 minutes.
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