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Film Review: Dark Shadows

Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in Dark Shadows.

Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in Dark Shadows.

WE ALL know that any project involving Tim Burton will have an element of weirdness - it will also probably have Johnny Depp and Burton’s long-time partner Helena Bonham-Carter on board.

Dark Shadows, based on the US TV series from the mid 1960s, certainly doesn’t buck the trend.

The film has seen some strong criticism and while it’s not Oscar-winning material it provides an enjoyable enough couple of hours of family fun.

The biggest problem with the movie is that it tries to incorporate several elements - a gory horror movie, a comedy, a romance, a gothic tale.

For me, it just about brought these threads together, but I can see why other people have got frustrated.

Depp plays Englishman Barnabas Collins, whose family set up a successful fishing company in the 1700s after sailing to the US.

However, after rejecting the affections of witch Angelique Bouchard (Green) he is turned into a vampire and locked away for 200 years.

Dug up again in 1972, he discovers Angelique still alive and in charge of the town, while his descendants have become a dysfunctional family.

Depp supplies all the best comic moments with his attempts to fit into the 70s lifestyle.

Michelle Pfeiffer, as the head of the modern Collins family, adds her undoubted skills to a strong cast, though Jonny Lee Miller as her brother is rather wasted.

A nice touch is having Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper in cameo roles.

Overall, Dark Shadows is a good way to escape a cold, damp British spring day, plus the 70s music is excellent (yes, even The Carpenters).

The ending does leave things open for a possible sequel. However, this might be a step too far.

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(12A) 113mins. Director: Tim Burton. Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green - (3 out of 5 stars)

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Steve Payne

 

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