Most Anticipated: Dark Shadows

36. Dark Shadows (PG-13) Runtime: 113 minutes
Starring: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Tim Burton

I haven't really been a huge fan of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp team since Sleepy Hollow. I can't remember when I've actually been excited to see Depp onscreen (the first 3 Pirates movies? Yes, I'm the loser who loved all three of those movies). So color me surprised when I actually was excited to see this movie when the trailer first arrived. Doubly so because Maggie said it looked really good for which I did a Scooby-Doo double take. Honestly, I really didn't think Maggie would go for this kind of movie, but the marketing team did a good job selling the movie. Kudos, Mr. Marketer! And you know what? The movie was actually pretty good - it was a fun Friday night movie!

I'm really not that familiar with the old TV show the movie is based on - but that didn't matter much because the movie stands on its own. Barnabas Collins (Depp) gets cursed by a love-scorned woman who just so happens to be a witch. He's turned into a vampire (mind you this is the 18th century) and eventually buried alive. Jump to the 70s and he comes back into the world when his coffin is found by a construction team. Of course, the witch is still around and controls most of the fishing empire Barnabas' family once ruled. She's a big fish in a small pond and his re-arrival stirs the pot. It's a fish-out-of-water tale that actually works really well with the theme of vampires and ghosts and witches.

I really didn't know how funny the movie would be but I was once again surprised at how much I laughed during the movie. Much of it's due to Depp's wistful performance as Baranabas. He's just goofy enough to charm the audience, but also can be quite deadly. I was also very surprised at the sex in the movie. I'm not a prude but I really wasn't expecting the movie to go there so much (there's one scene in particular with Helena Bonham Carter that made my jaw drop). It's not scandalous, but for a PG-13 movie it kind of was. Man, I'm starting to sound like a miffed old lady who writes reviews on IMDb about the immorality of Hollywood. Whatever, it's how I reacted! Deal with it universe.

There's a surprisingly good cast too. Pfeiffer is really starting to age (did you see New Year's Eve? Ugghh, could they have fugged her up more? No, no they could not), but she's really good at playing the matriarch of the present day Collins' family. Then there's the aforementioned Bonham Carter who plays the horny psychiatrist who is trying to help the deeply disturbed David Collins, the youngest of the family. Chloe Grace Moretz is also great as the rebellious teen and even Jackie Earle Haley plays the affable groundskeeper of the Collins estate. There's a surprise cameo by Christopher Lee which should have gotten more screen time, but I digress. They all have great chemistry with each other and you do find yourself rooting for the Collins family, not just Barnabas by the end of the movie.

I really did enjoy this movie a lot and the ending sets up a sequel which we'll probably never see, but one can only hope!

Rating: See It!

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