Dark Shadows

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on May 11, 2012

Stamp image Standard
StarStarHalf StarEmpty StarEmpty Star

Dear Richard Wild
Weather Consultant

Dear Richard,

We all know how much Tim Burton loves ominous night skies, soul-splitting lightning, and dreamy fog sequences. His use of pathetic fallacy is iconic, setting up hyper-stylized worlds to support Johnny Depp's increasingly bizarre performances. And it's your job, Richard, to make sure no one - including God - rains on their parade. Until the reviews come out, anyway.

The good news is, you might be in the clear for Dark Shadows. The world you've created is, refreshingly enough, darker in spirit than in design. For a film that's played for laughs, there are some pretty black turns. When Barnabas Collins, the film's charming-but-creepy vampire protagonist (played by Depp), breaks free of his 200-year entrapment into 1972, he savagely murders an entire construction crew. And that's just the start. The literal and metaphorical fogs in which he is lost actually come together to create a dreary mood of lost love. Well done.

But then the sun comes out.

Depp's Barnabas Collin's only treats sunlight as only a minor inconvenience, strolling about the town with minimal protection. Didn't you remind them that even humans today fear the sun's deadly cancer yielding rays? For a vampire, that fear should be tenfold. But maybe you all just couldn't resist getting out of the green screen studio for a few days. Fair enough.

The films does spend an awful lot of time indoors, setting up family dynamics that offer little payoff. Chloe Grace Mortez, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jonny Lee Miller all seem game to play ball, but are never given a moment to shine. Sure, Helena Bonham Carter gets to make a scene-stealing sexual advance, but it's Eva Green, dressed in red, who really steals the show. Cue the rain and that scene would have been perfect. Next time, I guess.

Forecasting only intermittent clouds,


comments powered by Disqus
(% endraw %}