"Dark Shadows" Is Apparently A Lot Better Than It Looks

Senior Contributor
05.07.12 3 Comments

Hey, sick of hearing about “The Avengers”? Let’s talk about the movie it’s going to spank like a schoolgirl next weekend, and how against all odds it might not suck.

Back when the first trailer came out, “Dark Shadows” came off a lot like a mid-budget studio comedy crapfest in the vein of “The Stepford Wives”, Hollywood scraping the bottom of every last IP barrel it could find before it was reduced to rebooting box office disappointments less than a decade old. If Dan Curtis were alive and saw the trailer, he probably would have called Tim Burton a no-talent son of a bitch.

But apparently fans have been seeing previews and it’s actually…good?

For example, Derek Flint, a longtime reviewer over at AICN, had this to say:

…Depp’s reaction to his undead fate is literally harrowing. Being a vampire proves worse than death, made all the more impactful by being buried alive. Burton’s use of Gothic imageries combined with Danny Elfman’s majestic score makes this prologue feel like a true Hammer classic.

Flash forward two centuries later and Barnabas emerges from his crypt into the same environment, but now in the year 1972. By not updating this tale to our present day and setting it against the same era as the original series, Burton and the screenwriter make a cagey move that spares us topical references that ruin most updates.

Another AICN reviewer has this to say:

Now this film wasn’t quite the gothic horror movie I was expecting, even though Burton brings that kind of creepy atmosphere to it. It’s more of a horror comedy, closer in tone to “Beetlejuice” or “The Addams Family,” only a little sexier and with implied violence. There are the usual ‘fish out of water’ moments as Barnabus tries to wrap his head around the modern world of the 1970’s. At one point he mistakenly believes his 15-year old niece is a prostitute because of her skimpy outfits and later attacks a television set showing a performance by The Carpenters (most things he can’t understand he interprets as Satan). Depp makes those moments work wonderfully because he plays Barnabas with such earnestness that you can’t help but like the guy, even when he’s kind of an @$$hole (he does kill several people).

You know, that whole “kills several people” thing is really what gets our attention. This movie looked like it didn’t have the fangs for that level of violence.

And TVTropes is at it as well, with a page started by people who’ve apparently seen previews and liked it, at least enough to keep up the “Beetlejuice” comparisons.

None of this matters: this gets curbstomped by “The Avengers” next week. But it’ll be nice if this movie doesn’t totally suck.

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