By Jair Fuentes
Director Tim Burton fuses two generations and takes a stab at dark humor in his latest film “Dark Shadows,” which is loosely based on the popular gothic soap opera of the same name.
This film marked the seventh time that Burton and Johnny Depp have worked together. In the film, Depp portrays Barnabas Collins. As a young boy, Collins and his parents moved to America in 1760. Originally from Liverpool, the Collins found that creating their own fishing business in the state of Maine would be very successful.
Growing up, Collins enjoyed his days at Collinwood Manor, the family home. He falls in love with Josette DuPres, played by Bella Heathcote. In the midst of their growing romance, Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green, becomes interested in Collins.
In an jealous rage, Bouchard decides to use witchcraft to kill Collin’s parents and DuPres. In order to further Collins’ suffering, she turns him into a vampire. Fast forward to 1972. The town of Collinsport, Maine is a different world. One with cars, television and marijuana obsessed hippies. Collins awakens after two centuries and returns home to Collinwood Manor to find that his family’s business has fallen apart by the wrath of AngelBay, a rival fishing business.
Collins tries to adjust to his new surroundings and gains the trust of Elizabeth, his relative and current occupant of the mansion, played by Michelle Pfieffer. Together, they attempt to rebuild the family business, only to find that the owner of AngelBay has a deep, dark secret from the past, leading to an action-packed finale.
With a star studded cast including Michelle Pfieffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley and a cameo by rock star Alice Cooper, “Dark Shadows” is surprisingly dull. The plot is not the most original, as the time travel concept has been seen in the past, leading the conclusion of the film to be somewhat predictable. Also, the acting isn’t always on point. Heathcote, in particular, has trouble keeping her accent consistent.
However, there are upsides. The script, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, is comedic. Through a mix of modern and classic dialogue, Grahame-Smith does a good job of intertwining conversations between a character living in 1972 and a character from the 1760.
Another upside is the villain, Angelique. Deceitful and determined, she portrays pure evil. Like any villain, she also displays a hint of vulnerability, which only makes her character more disturbed.
The film lacks more than it impresses. The comedic charm of the script is not brought to life by the characters as good as it should have been. Although Burton tries to create a spooky environment, he fails as it seems too familiar from his past films.
“Dark Shadows” is rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, crude language and smoking. It runs for one hour and 53 minutes.