Dark Shadows **1/2

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I have been looking forward to this movie for years. Maybe my expectations got too high but the movie didn’t fully deliver for me. Being a big fan of the original series, I wasn’t expecting a quirky comedy. Not that I wasn’t entertained, I was just expecting something a little darker with more atmosphere.

It is almost as if the director, Tim Burton, just could not put his finger on what kind of tone this movie should have and simply added a bit of everything. The result is an odd mix of comedy, horror and drama that never really works. But it is never ever boring.

Story involves a vampire named Barnabas Collins, played by Johnny Depp. 200 years ago he was cursed and buried alive by a jealous witch named Angelique. He is freed by a construction crew in 1972. He promptly greets them by savagely murdering them and drinking their blood.

He finds that his beloved manor has become run down. It is still inhabited by his descendants. He vows to return their home to it’s former glory and restore their failing business.

I would have to say that the first half of the film is pretty good. We see the back story that took place centuries ago. Burton drapes this section of the story with the perfect amount of gothic dread. It is the second half that kind of comes apart. Too many story lines are started and go unresolved and too many characters have surprises that come out of no where.

The production design and the performances are all first rate as expected. Burton always fills attracts the best of the best. I just felt like the story just doesn’t come together naturally.

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