Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dark Shadows underwhelming

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However, Victoria is on screen for maybe 25 minutes of the films nearly two-hour runtime. Also, David shows little mental difficulties besides laying a sheet over himself pretending to be a ghost and claiming he still sees and talks to his dead mother.

The latter may seem alarming, but its treated whimsically as if writer Seth Grahame-Smith doesnt even believe what he is selling. Barnabas returns from the grave in brutal fashion and were given a few laughs from lady of the house Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Barnabas trying to hide the fact that he is a vampire.

The writing plays right into Depps hands, as he is the only character that receives due attention and the only character that wasnt one-dimensional. The rest are merely set pieces, which I felt was a disservice to the films history in the soap opera that featured many prominent characters besides Barnabas.

Two of Barnabass three motives make sense: his desire to free himself of the curse and to restore the family name. Why he wants to love Victoria is anyones guess because we dont really know what makes her so lovable, besides Barnabass nostalgic longing for Josettes apparent twin.

Barnabas seeks advice from Carolyn, the hippy daughter of Elizabeth played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Carolyn is just around to dance to music of the times, look stoned and a shockingly off-the-wall moment at the end.

Every other character was borderline useless or one-dimensional for much of the film.

Elizabeth is a grim relic who moves around simply to bounce dialogue off of Barnabas when necessary. Victoria, as previously mentioned, is absent for most of the film. David also shares little screen time and does or says very little while on screen anyway.

Green as the witch Angelique is singular in her purpose as the films antagonist. She hates Barnabas and wishes his family dead. Shes also obsessed with making Barnabas love her, but why she loves him we dont know.

The performance of Green slips from unconvincing to trying too hard to match Depps presence. While Depp has a handle on the 18th century style of Barnabas and convincingly delivers his dialogue and accent, Green stumbles.

The addition of many odd and often just annoying sexual encounters and activities were obviously present simply for laughs.

The film has little resolution and provides no payoff for its characters that dont grow, expand or develop in any meaningful way.

The set-up for a sequel was an unfortunate turn of events. After watching a couple episodes of the original show online, Id much rather spend a night with the black-and-white aura of Dark Shadows than Burtons alternative.

Dark Shadows is rated PG-13 and has a runtime of 1 hour 53 minutes.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

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