Yes I know – yet another vampire film. Didn’t this genre die out at about the same time that Edward Cullen became a vampire? Despite vowing never to watch another vampire film after Bella’s horrific birthing scene, the whole Johnny Depp/Tim Burton combo suckered me in. Surely they wouldn’t defile Interview with a Vampire and Blade’s genre the way that it has been in recent years.
To add to the Depp/Burton combo, Dark Shadows also includes regulars Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as Chloë Grace Moretz (Hugo) and Bella Heathcote (Neighbours). Dark Shadows is a based on the 70s gothic drama with the same name. The film starts with Barnabas Collins (Depp) explaining how his family settled in America from Liverpool, England. They are involved in fishing, are ridiculously rich and even have the town of Collingwood named after them. Barnabas grows into a playboy and breaks the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who also happens to be a witch that turns him into a vampire and buries him alive when her love is unrequited. 200 years later, he is accidentally set free and returns to the Collins’ manor, only to find it rundown, with a new generations of dysfunctional Collins’ living in it. The film continues with Barnabas trying to return his house, family, town and love-life to it’s former glory.
I went in with rather low expectations, with the bar set low from previous vampire films, and was quite surprised to find myself enjoying the film…for the first 30 minutes. The moment Barnabas is freed from his coffin, the extremely strange and quirky humor kicks in. Sure, it’s true to Depp’s reoccurring character, but somehow it seems out of place and makes it a bit cringe-worthy as other characters attempt to pull off the same kind of humor. On a completely unrelated, but equally frustrating note: Depp’s make-up. Maybe it was the fancy V-Max screen, but it was giving me awful flashbacks to the second Twilight film when they so drastically changed the vampire’s make-up. It was so terrible that I spent the rest of the film looking at his makeup and what it does under certain conditions, rather than enjoying the fact that I got to stare at Johnny Depp for 2 hours.
I know I keep referring back to that dreaded ‘Quadrilogy’, and you’re thinking, “But surely this is a whole different kettle of fish.” And yes, there are moments, like the passionate and rabid lovemaking and sexual content, that wouldn’t be found in an M rated ‘Twi’ film. But that just made it all the more confusing. The half-baked storyline, blatant attempt to ride the wave of the genre and child-like humor made me think the film would be perfectly suited to twi-hards. Until the sex scenes. As a married woman – even I blushed. The film was all over the place, never choosing a target audience and sticking to it. Even the actual ‘love story’ part was incoherent. On the whole the acting was spectacular, as can be expected from a cast of that calibre, but Barnabas’ relationship with his new love seemed so wooden and forced. If that’s what love is, I don’t want it.
As with most films, there are some good moments. As I just said, the acting was suburb, it was visually stunning, with that classic Burton stamp. The musical score was well done by Danny Elfman and the costuming was spot-on.
On the whole, I was vaguely entertained and didn’t fall asleep. If you’re a HUGE Depp/Burton fan, I suggest waiting for DVD. If neither these two, nor vampires, witches or werewolves – yes, werewolves – get your attention save 2 hours of your life for something better, like housework, or watch ‘Interview with a Vampire’ again.
Reviewed by: Nerice Collins