Excerpt: In the late 18th Century, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) spurned the love of the witch Angelique (Eva Green) who cursed him, turning him into a vampire and having him buried alive. In 1972, his coffin is found and opened and he returns to his beloved mansion Collinswood where his descendants still live and he discovers the world has changed a lot in the 200 years he was gone, although Angelique is still alive and trying to ruin the Collins’ business and name.
Excerpt: When Barnabas is unearthed 200 years later, he returns to find his family manor in disrepair and occupied by his distant and dysfunctional relatives. Of course, it’s now the early 1970s and Barnabas is experiencing a significant degree of culture shock. Much of the film’s humor plays on the classic fish-out-of-water story line. The scene that afforded me the biggest laugh was when Barnabas stares erotically transfixed at a bubbling red plasma-like lava lamp.
Excerpt: Somewhere in the sloping arc of Tim Burton’s career, what was once a sensibility slowly morphed into a brand. That distinctive gothic flair, freed from horror and animated by comedy in great films like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice , has not gone away, nor has his attraction to stories about imaginative outcasts misunderstood by the squares around them.
Excerpt: In the increasingly distant past of 1994, when arthouse hits were common, and entertainment magazines tracked the careers of promising foreign filmmakers the way rotisserie-leaguers scour box scores, Milcho Manchevski became a director of significance, thanks to his Oscar-nominated debut feature Before The Rain . Fifteen years later, Manchevski has only two more unexceptional feature credits, a music video, and an episode of The Wire on his résumé.
Summary: Whilst not quite the triumph we might have been hoping for, this lushly produced gothic comedy is director Tim Burton’s best film since 2003’s Big Fish . More Depp, who was so annoying in Alice and Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factor y (Burton’s worst films if you take Planet of the Apes out of the picture) is no less affected in his performance here, but for some reason it just works.
Conclusion: A word of warning: this is not the knockabout comedy the trailer suggests. Instead, it cleaves closer to what you expect from Burton: darkness, quirk and Johnny Depp on great form. A step up, then, from Alice In Wonderland and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, but not tip-top Tim.
Excerpt: "Dark Shadows" is a dark comedy, although the jokes aren't as black as its gothic setting, a magnificent candlelit manor. Our protagonist is an affable chap and a vampire out of his time, coming to grips with the quirks of the modern world and the members of his equally awkward and peculiar family. The unusual scenario is a surprising platform for laughs in what is an otherwise insignificant story.