Don’t get me wrong, I love movies. Whether I’m closing my eyes during a jumpy horror flick or tearing up during an emotional rom-com, I always try to keep an open mind at the theater. Or so I used to.
This past Saturday, I once again found myself at the local cinema, this time to celebrate the birthday of one of my closest friends. As is custom amongst my innermost circle of pals, whomever’s birthday it is is allowed to choose the plans for the night, so this particular friend, a die-hard Johnny Depp fanatic, wanted more than anything else to see Depp’s latest film, Dark Shadows.
Dark Shadows, based on the late 1960’s soap opera, details the story of Barnabas Collins, the classic love stricken vampire, as well as his many encounters with the Collins’ family. Knowing full well the film would be substantially different than the television show, I entered the theater less than optimistically to say the least.
My suspicions were, unfortunately, quickly confirmed; while the movie wasn’t a total flop straight from the get-go, it never turned into anything special either.
Simply put, the whole thing was a mess. With all of the different storylines– Barnabas’ love issues with the Collins’ nanny, Victoria, and his old flame, Angelique, the relationship problems within the Collins’ family, Barnabas’ struggles to fit into modern-day society– involved, not to mention the whole vampire part, the plot had no clear direction.
To make matters worse, Dark Shadows couldn’t even master the “dark” style Tim Burton has become so famous for. While Depp’s bloodthirsty rampages throughout the movie certainly helped to establish the more eerie, haunting atmosphere I had anticipated, they were easily overwhelmed by stale, confusing moments of “humor”, if you can call them that.
Ultimately, I have to give Depp the credit he deserves for salvaging what was otherwise a waste of my money. Through the good, bad, and the very, very ugly, he managed to stay true to his quirky, kooky self; even though he was working with an entirely unrecognizable supporting cast on a sixties soap-opera remake with no actual plot, enough of his unusual nature squeaked out to develop his character and hold the film together. For that, I applaud you, Depp.
If I had to sum Dark Shadows up in one word, it would have to be “underwhelming.” While I can’t say anything overly positive about the movie as a whole, it wasn’t the absolute worst thing I’ve ever seen. But it was definitely in my Top 5 worst movies of all time.