Film Review: Dark Shadows
So here’s the facts:
It’s a remake of a trashy, 60s soap opera that the target audience (Johnny Depp stalkers) won’t even know about.
Tim Burton is directing it.
Johnny Depp is the star.
Helena Bonham Carter gets a role she doesn’t deserve.
Why does this movie exist?
TL;DR Some earnest performances do nothing to overcome the absolute wank that is Dark Shadows. Tim Burton just needs to film himself jacking off onto Johnny Depp’s face, upload it to RedTube, and stop making movies. 1 out of 5 stars.
Wow, I haven’t dished out a 1 starrer in yonks. Thanks, Tim Burton!
You’re going to love this plot. Depp plays some guy from a rich family that owns a lucrative fishing business. When he doesn’t say I love you to a bitchy witch (Eva Green), she curses him by killing his fianceé, making him a vampire, and having the townsfolk bury him for 200 years. Fast forward to present, Witchy has taken over the fishing market. So when Depp is accidentally released, he returns to his family home and decides to help his descendants…reclaim the fishing contracts in a small town.
I honestly thought Twilight had the least ambitious use of vampires, but I clearly made a mistake discounting Tim Burton.
So yeah, the big problem is the absolute banality of the entire premise. Burton obviously realised this about 3/4 of the way through, because the plot suddenly turns into an epic boss battle between Depp and Eva. The fact that this isn’t entirely badly done only makes the first 90 minutes feel even more like a waste of time. .
The only thing I genuinely didn’t hate about this movie was Eva Green’s performance. Her accent is all over the place (your move, Sam Worthington) and she uses her powers very inconsistently, but she is absolutely delicious as the dickhead jilted lover. And she’s hot.
Why I hate this movie:
Everyone’s hair is fake and wearing too much makeup. Has nobody given Tim Burton this note before? I feel like someone should have told him by now.
Especially his wife, Helena Bonham Carter. Burton’s no Paul WS Anderson with regards to casting his wife, but I feel like HBC deserves better than having to appear in her husband’s latest crapper. On the flip side of that, she also gets obvious favouritism. HBC is one of the few main characters to die, then in the pre-credits stinger, it’s revealed she’s still alive. I hope that doesn’t mean a sequel is going to happen. Please, god.
Eva’s character is fabulous, but her motivation is petty. She pretty much destroys the entire Collins family (and, by vampirising Depp, is indirectly responsible for every death he causes) because Depp wouldn’t say he loves her while she was banging him. Rude.
Chloe Moretz suuuuuuuuuuuuucks. First of all, her hair is the absolute fakest of the lot. You don’t go from this to this in a year. Girl got some bad weave, yo. She also can’t enunciate her words properly, probably because she’s constantly doing this ridiculous “look how much of a sassy, badass 12 year old I am” snarl. Also, how old is she? Oh, 15. So that’s why she dresses like a hooker (Depp’s character even calls her out on this) and is overly sexualised. Oh, Tim Burton.
She also gets the worst line of the movie. In the boss battle with Eva, it’s randomly revealed that she is a werewolf. She’s all trying to be sassy and blunt, and throws this out: “Woof.” It’s her atrocious delivery that really sells it. If my stomach had something other than bile and loathing in it, I would have thrown up.
The first plot thread introduced after the whole 200 years ago thing involves a woman coming to the Collins house to care for Michelle Pfeiffer’s nephew (it’s a complicated family). This gets flicked aside as soon as Depp reappears. The woman, Vicki, only shows up later because she looks like Depp’s murdered fianceé and Depp wants to fuck her.
Speaking of fucking, there’s a scene where HBC gives Depp a random blowjob. And there’s an extended sequence where Eva and Depp hate-fuck. For fishing contracts.
Depp also arbitrarily murders several dozen people. Because a mass-murdering main character is okay as long as he’s nice to his family. For fishing contracts.
Eva misses plenty of opportunities to just kill Depp.
Oh, and the boss battle is won after Pfeiffer’s nephew suddenly calls on his dead mother’s ghost to attack Eva with…something? Willpower? A concentrated blast of plot? That sounds about right.
Reasons to watch:
Eva Green looks hot with long, fake, blonde hair. Her red dress for the ball is amazing.
There’s an overly long joke about the ball and “balls.” One of the more enjoyable wtf moments.
Depp calls Moretz a whore. True.
Christopher Lee cameos as a fishing captain. That’s cool, right? LOTR represent?
Vicki’s back story involves her seeing the ghost of Depp’s fianceé. Her interactions seem to be on par with your average imaginary friend relationship, but her parents send her off to an asylum over it. I lol’d.
Depp kills HBC after he discovers her trying to vampirise herself with his blood. I lol’d.
The ball that they throw actually looks pretty fun. Alice Cooper cameos as himself. Respect.
Eva’s trapping of Depp the second time is pretty hilarious. She locks him in a coffin (again), but she drapes her underwear over his face before burying him. That’s love, man.
Before this, though, Eva records Depp confessing to the murders he’s committed thus far. She then uses a police car’s megaphone to broadcast it for the townspeople to hear. It’s boss as fuck.
Best line goes to HCB, whose character is a bitter, alcoholic psychiatrist: “Every year I get half as pretty and twice as drunk.” So say we all.
Oh, and Pfeiffer gets to wield a shotgun during the boss battle. It’s a good look for her.
The occasional cool moment can’t save this utter mess. Utter, utter mess. How does Tim Burton keep getting funded for this shit? Who listened to him pitching a $150 million remake of an obscure soap opera that all his 14 year-old emo fangirls have no clue about and said yes? Fucking what the fuck? 1 out of 5 stars.