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Dark Shadows - movie review
Release date: 11 May 2012
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green
What's the story?
After 200 years underground, resurrected vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp) sets about restoring his family's name and reputation, with a little help from the current residents of his now dilapidated mansion.
What did we think?
Unsure whether to shoot for the funny bone or the jugular, Shadows boasts a typically unhinged turn from Depp and delicious villainy from a vamping Green. Yet the movie as a whole seems more like a Tim Burton Greatest Hits compilation than an enthralling new chapter in his eclectic oeuvre.
Tim Burton seems to be aiming for the macabre craziness of Beetlejuice and the gothic allure of Edward Scissorhands in his latest horror comedy, an adaptation of a spooky supernatural soap that was quite the cult back in the 1960s. Yet there is a feeling he's going through the motions in his eighth collaboration with Johnny Depp - the result, perhaps, of this being the actor's baby rather than Tim's passion project.
Depp is undoubtedly in his element as Barnabas Collins, a Victorian vampire dug up after two centuries in a coffin who finds 1972 America an alien world indeed. With his blackened eye sockets, elongated fingers and corpse-like pallor, Barnabas is one freaky-looking dude whose bemused reaction to his new surroundings is a constant source of fish-out-of-water humour.
Yet while Burton has an eye-catching ensemble at his disposal that includes Michelle Pfeiffer as the current matriarch of the Collins household and Helena Bonham Carter as a boozy child psychiatrist, he doesn't seem able to put them to effective use. Only Eva Green shines as Depp's witch nemesis Angelique, notably during a saucy mid-air sex scene and a climatic face-off that reduces much of Rick Heinrichs' elaborate sets to flaming rubble.
Verdict: Needs new blood.
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