In Dark Shadows, Johnny Depp (who you most likely know well from numerous blockbusters) returns to play yet another social misfit. This time it’s Barnabas Collins, British fishing industry mogul son who is turned into a vampire by a former lover who happened to be a witch. They brake up and to say that she doesn’t handle it very well would be a gross understatement. In 1752, he is locked away by the obligatory angry mob and is stuck until 1972 when the construction of a satanic fast food chain restaurant accidentally releases his fury upon the world again.
The movie starts very well and gets straight to the point, which I enjoy: The stage is set and everyone is quickly introduced to the audience. No dicking around. And what an interesting cast it is: Barnabas' ancestors and their entourage comes out as a an alternate Adams family, with well known actors like Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Chloë Grace Moretz filling what you’d hope is the main cast. But it turns out they are mere supporting characters in a movie that totally fails to take advantage of the massive potential this cast has. Most of the focus is on Johnny Depp and Eva Green characters. I’m guessing that’s because they are the main characters, but it’s just awkward to watch them try to create some sort of chemistry between themselves on the silver screen.
Darks Shadows is a schizophrenic mess that never manages to decided if it’s supposed to make you laugh or make you scared. As a consequence it fails to do neither properly. It’s not really funny and it’s not really scary. And I scare easily.
There’s an obvious open ending to the movie and probably a sequel in the works somewhere. There’s really no need to bother with seeing Dark Shadows, and we can just hope Hollywood doesn’t bother with Dark Shadows II either. Anniken liked the movie, though, but as she said: “I only need Johnny Depp and it’s a good movie to me”. So if you’re in the same state of mind, then by all means, have a go. If not, treat yourself to something else instead. Maybe something funny. Or scary if that’s your cup of tea. Because Dark Shadows is neither.