SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE.
I had high hopes for this movie. Johnny Depp transformed by a witch’s wrath into a vampyre, dug out of his coffin 200 years later, returns to his home endowed with some brilliantly wicked supernatural powers to restore the Collins family to prosperity. The trailer was playful, dramatic and a little dark. Plus, an impressive cast roll: Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from the Watchmen movie) and Chloe Grace Moretz (the delightfully foul-mouthed Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass). And to top it all off, it’s directed by Tim Burton.
Unfortunately, Dark Shadows proved too theatrical and far from satisfying. Firstly, the hair and make-up. Did Angelique really have to be straw-blonde? Did Johnny Depp really have to be daubed such a plastery shade of white? Perhaps. But it was tacky.
There were so many characters in this story who, at first, seemed fascinating. Their individual stories could have easily been drawn out into intriguing segues without detracting from the overall narrative. Instead, the supporting characters were used as props. Conflicts between family members were introduced and never resolved. Carolyn, instead of resolving her relationship with her mother, transforms into a werewolf in the last few minutes of the movie and has a punch-up with the witch – um, what? Victoria Winters, who apparently had a traumatic childhood imprisoned in a mental asylum, turns up at the Collins manor, a doe-eyed, sweetly-spoken waif whose only purpose is to fall madly in love with Barnabas. And Roger Collins? He just…leaves? I guess so.
Overall, the pacing of this movie was out of step. As I watched, I was wondering what the point of this or that scene was, and when something substantial was going to happen. And then, suddenly, it all happened at once. And then the movie ended. With a cheesy ending.
A couple of hours of lighthearted, gothicky fun. I wouldn’t watch it again.