Every family has its demons.
In 1752, the Collins family sails from Liverpool, England to North America. The son, Barnabas, grows up to be a wealthy playboy in Collinsport, Maine and is the master of Collinwood Manor. He breaks the heart of a witch, Angelique Bouchard, who turns him into a vampire and buries him alive. In 1972, Barnabas is accidentally freed from his coffin and returns to find his once-magnificent manor in ruin. It is occupied by dysfunctional Collins descendants and other residents, all of whom have secrets.
For those of you who didn’t know, Dark Shadows was a successful horror soap opera (I kid you not) which aired from 1966-71. Johnny Depp is a huge fan of the televised program, so it wasn’t surprising that he is not only starring, but also helped produce the movie. Sadly I did not have the pleasure of viewing the series, so I could not compare the two. I did unfortunately see the trailer, luckily only once and a few weeks back, however I do recall it seeming rather predictable…I hoped to be wrong.
The story begins with a brief yet punctual introduction, getting us up to speed as why such a tale is being told. Like most Burton films (if not all), there is usually an interesting range of different personas, in which this film does not disappoint! Featuring a fun array of stars, everyone does a decent task of bringing the different members to life, although certain cast do receive more screen time than others. Sadly, because of this, some of the characters don’t feel as part of the film, or only decide to show up in dribs and drabs…I did enjoy the acting, it’s just a pity that not everyone felt more…”even”.
If there’s one thing that stood out or made this film delightfully dreary (in a good way), it’s the makeup/wardrobe, set pieces and of course location. Situated in a small fishing town on the coast, there is an abundance of marvellous shots of the fictional town. I really enjoyed the fact that the film was set in the seventies as it suited the premise very well. If you are a true Burton fan you should notice the similarities from his previous films. Even when the sun is shining brightly, the morbid undertone is present, whether brooding clouds are looming in the distance to the paler than usual complexion of the stars, you should feel the slight “Goth” pang.
The effects in the film were sparse, only being used when needed. There is light humour (very light) that would perhaps make you smile, with perchance of a chuckle, but it was a far throw from making you guffaw. It was amusing to watch our main antagonist/protagonist come to understand what has happened and happening all around him.
As much as I enjoyed the film… it is not without a few faults. First off- the story is predictable. They do try and change it up; however it is far too late in the film and by then seems rushed. Quite a few of the characters aren’t “fleshed” out enough. It’s as if they are there to do their lines and leave. I understand it may be so to follow suit to the story, but it draws you away from the film some-what (well it did for me). You don’t get to know them well enough, or as you are doing so the character is not seen again for the next 20-30minutes. I sometimes even forgot the actor/actress is apart of the movie…it is a shame. I didn’t have high hopes for this film, but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would…
At the end of the day, Dark Shadows…needed more. With an awesome cast, great set pieces and location…the story and execution sadly pulls it to the bottom of the ocean…and that’s all she wrote. Speaking of writing, Burton didn’t write the screenplay and could possibly be the reason as to why it didn’t hit the respected Coffin Nail (so to speak)…on the head. The film isn’t doing all that well at theatres earning $135Million thus far on a budget of $150Million.
Worth the Watch if, you are in the mood for something different, are a fan of Tim Burton or enjoyed the series and feel like a bit of modern nostalgia.
|Title:||Dark Shadows (2012)|
|Leading Cast:||Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote|
|Studio:||Village Roadshow Pictures, Infinitum Nihil, GK Films, The Zanuck Company|
|Running Time:||113 Minutes|
|Release Date:||11 May 2012 (South Africa)|