I'm a sucker for a Johnny Depp film, especially it's a Tim Burton film. By and large, they are (combined with Helena Bonham Carter) a pretty talented trio who can virtually guarantee a film's success. Therefore I'd been hankering after watching Dark Shadows for a while, and when I was sent it to review I was extremely chuffed.
Dark Shadows follows the tale of Barnabus Collins (Depp) who was a Liverpool-born, aristocratic young batchelor in America in the 18th century. His wealthy family had founded Collinstown and they lived in a spectaculorly gothic mansion full of secret tunnels, grandeur and adoring servants. Angelique (one such maid) fell deeply in love with Barnabus following a fling and when he rejected her for his true love, the little witch set about destroying his life, family and fortune, casting a spell causing his beloved's death and him to become a vampire. Once the local town's people heard he was a vampire, he was captured and entombed for just under two centuries deep beneath the ground.
Cut forward to 1972 and the mansion is a shadow of its former self with his remaining descendants trying hard to maintain some form of status quo against the poverty they live in, enforced by Angelique's business which has taken over Barnabus' beloved town. Until one day, when the foundations for a restaurant of the golden arches is being dug, and the workmen discover a box with a blood-thirsty vampire inside. What happens next in the film is a case of vengeance and determination as Barnabus tries to salvage his family's name against the twists and turns of every truly dark Burton film.
There are some surprise appearances in this film, and big names with it. Eva Green, Johnny Lee Miller and Michelle Pfeiffer are main characters throughout, alongside Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter. Eva Green makes for a truly wicked and dastardly witch to Johnny Depp's vampire, Helena Bonham-Carter is… a bit mediocre if I'm honest; I don't really see what her character adds to the film at all. I liked the relationship between Barnabus and his female descendant, Michelle Pfeiffer, and she does a pretty good job in the film. Johnny Depp is good in the film (when is he not?) but he doesn't quite cut it as a blood-sucker for me, I'm too used to him being mischievious or slightly whacky and seeing him as a comedic killer in this vampire comedy just seemed a bit strange. Especially when his appearance in Sweeney Todd actually gave me nightmares.
Dark Shadows is a good film. It's not one of the terrific trio's best, but it's certainly watchable and enjoyable; I will watch it again and I will chuckle and gasp in all the right places because the combined cast and storyline is amusing.
I was sent this DVD for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.