Review: Dark Shadows

There is a well – established formula in the world of cinema: Johnny Depp + Tim Burton + Helena Bonham Carter = movie magic. Given the latest product of this formula it may be time to call this into question. This offering from Burton and Co. was inspired by an American TV series from the late sixties. The film’s main character is Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp), a vampire cursed by an obsessive witch (Eva Green) and locked in a box for 196 years. What ensues is Barnabus’ endeavour to rebuild the family empire with plenty of Jack Sparrow-esque, bemused comments about the modern world along the way.

How to describe ‘Dark Shadows’? Quirky? Amusing? Kooky? All of the above in fact, but its not without its flaws. The dialogue is slow and clunky in places and some of the plotlines are never fully fleshed out. Having said that, there is definitely a novelty factor to this film. The trademark twist of madness which seeps through Tim Burton’s work is once again present, but it’s quite different to the average fast-talking, high action, serious CGI fare we’ve been subjected to lately. Any film which unites lava lamps, 1760’s Liverpool, hippies and an Alice Cooper performance is sure to be one you won’t forget anytime soon. Eva Green puts in a stand-out performance showing diversity after ‘Casino Royale’ and as ever Bonham Carter comes up trumps as a bewigged, alcoholic psychiatrist. However, Depp on his eighth outing with Burton must take care not to limit his range. His run of turkeys of late suggests his star may be beginning to fade.

If eccentricity and dark romance is your thing, this is definitely one for you. It looks like Burton and pals have survived another adventure. The future of their previously winning formula, however, is unclear – lets hope that the coffins and gloom aren’t a sign of things to come.

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3 Stars