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"Dark Shadows" Review

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Almost every laugh and pretty much all the story is contained in the trailer, which benefits from fast-cutting and plot condensation. Despite looking like another Tim Burton and Johnny Depp trifle, the experience of sitting in the dark shadows of a movie theater is an exercise in experiencing eternal torment. It simply doesn't work on any level - as a straight horror story, a horror spoof, or a fish-out-of-time comedy. Characters don't arc at all and are so superfluous that when the plot wanders back to including them in a scene, my reaction was consistently, "Oh, this one again." I can't even muster much effort to tear it apart because it's so pointless and boring.

Depp brings his usual focus to his portrayal of Barnabas Collins and it's a testament that he's able to command our attention when there's nothing much he's actually doing. A lot of good actors - Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moritz, Jackie Earl Haley, Helena Bonham Carter, and Eva Green (who should replace January Jones in the Matthew Vaughn X-Men: First Class series) - are similarly left adrift with a business card-length character for 105 minutes. Burton doesn't even step up to provide his specifically creative sensibility to the film's look. He seems to be phoning it in and as a result, everyone just marks time along with the audience.

The only good thing I can say about our viewing of Dark Shadows is that the price was right. (We'd walked in after another show had let out.) My girlfriend had been willing to pay full price ($10) to see it and is very glad she didn't. I just want my time back.

Score: 2/10. Skip it.


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