Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are running out of things to re-imagine.

As much as I love the work of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, in recent years their combined efforts have been hampered by the fact that their first few projects together were quite exceptional.

When we look at the likes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, we have to remind ourselves that this is the same duo that brought us Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow and my personal favourite Burton film, Ed Wood.

I’m not saying that the well has ran dry for the Burton and Depp partnership, but judging by Dark Shadows, the signs do not look so good.

Based on an 1960’s gothic soap opera of the same name, Dark Shadows stars Johnny Depp as Barnabus Collins. Having seduced his family’s maid, Angelique Bouchard sets upon cursing Barnabus by killing his family, bewitching the love of his life into jumping off a cliff and turning poor old Barnabus into a vampire. From there, she leads the town mob to capture and bury Barnabus alive. 196 years later, is accidentally freed and attempts to settle in with his descendants in 1972.

It all starts off in quite a charming and simple manner and at first, with the setting of a small town and all the supernatural shenanigans, Dark Shadows has a certain Beetlejuice feel to it all.

Aside from the reliable Johnny Depp (who is clearly a fan of the character and the TV series), the rest of the cast are solid enough form to carry the film. Eva Green especially fits into the Burton style universe like glove, with her Angelique Bouchard being both beautiful and a completely selfish and deluded bitch.

On the flipside to Angelique is Victoria Winters, played Bella Heathcote and while she puts in a good and engaging performance as the love interest, the pure wackiness of it all gives a jarring effect to the viewer and leaves one wondering what Victoria sees in the weird and old fashioned Barnabus.

The film also features the likes of Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Lee Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz and even Alice Cooper, but unfortunately there is not much attention given to the visually diverse characters.

Sadly, what starts off as a promising set-up, slowly descends into a mess during the third act. It was almost as if the script makers suddenly released what the film’s roots where when they had got to the third act and decided to shoe horn in a bunch of classic horror monsters.

With all the CGI effects being thrown at the screen, I found myself longing for the stop motion days of Beetlejuice.

On the plus side of things, Depp’s performance is very comical and the films 1970’s setting does mean that there are number of classic rock numbers in there, but that’s not enough to save this film from disappearing back into the shadows.

DVD Extras:
The Collinses: Every family has its demons

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.