Dark Shadows Review: Are you thirsty?
Dark shadows is the latest offering from the gothic king of epic-weird, who gave us Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas and the remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory.
For those of you looking for a whole new kettle of fish from Burton’s usual layout, untried ground from Burton’s usual themes or visuals, the film offers little. It echoes a little of the quaint awkwardness of Edward Scissorhands; with Johnny Depp playing a freakish but lovable outcast trying to make him way with life and love in a modern and unfamiliar world. Despite thematic and stylistic similarities with Burton’s previous themes Dark Shadows, does stand out in some ways as a good film in its own right.
The film focuses on the ill-fated Barnabas Collins (Depp), the son of wealthy fish merchants who shares a few sexual tumbles with attractive servant Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). Angelique falls into an obsessive love with him that he cannot requite. Love knows no fury like a woman scorned, especially when that woman happens to be a witch. The rejected Angelique curses Barnabas with vampirism and locks him in a box buried underground forever...or until 1972 when he’s excavated and he moves back in with his dysfunctional descendents.
Dark Shadows is the vampire film with a difference. No sparkles, no waiflike love interests and no apathetic pouting to speak off. The characters are expectedly strange and unexpectedly well rounded.
Michelle Pfieffer plays Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of the new Collins family with dignity while Helena Bonham Carter does well as the sardonic, alcoholic shrink hired to look after the psychologically damaged, adorable young nephew of the household, David (Gulliver McGrath). Chloe Moretz is owed a special mention as well as the bratty, uncouth teenage daughter of Elizabeth who speaks so brazenly and acts so inappropriately you want to slap her, but you can’t help but like her.
One character stands out of a good cast. Eva Green plays Angelique Bouchard with such a skilful mix of femme fatale and homicidal psychopath that it brings the concept of ‘bitch’ to dizzy new heights. For me personally she made the film.
Overall, Dark Shadows is enjoyable, quirky. It’s different in comparison to other films on offer at the moment but doesn’t really stand out too far from the rest Tim Burton’s films. If you saw it without the label, you’d still know to whom it belonged. The film’s tone varies from charming and kitsch to blackly humourous and in this way comes across as a little confused. The plot also runs away with itself a little at the end, but it’s an enjoyable romp though ‘WTF?’ all the same.
The cinematography leaves nothing to be desired. It’s a great looking film; clean, crisp and bright- a pleasure to look at.
If you want to catch a film that makes you laugh, makes you think and makes you want to rethink dating, Dark Shadows is a sound choice for you. With one of the most bizarre love-making scenes in history and a little cameo from Cassie from Skins (Hannah Murray) Dark Shadows is certainly worth a try. Go ahead, have a bite!