Dark Shadows ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I was able to fully predict what my review of this would have been before I watched it:

"'Dark Shadows' is a more than serviceable attempt to recapture the heights and themes of 'Edward Scissorhands' where a gothic character is comically thrown into a 50's/60's styled American suburbia, reacting with vague confusion to every cultural artefact that surrounds him until the entire thing eventually concludes with an angry mob. The visuals look great but the script is somewhat lacking when compared to what Burton's worked on before, and thus the film seems to come off as Tim-Burton-Lite where the director's just going through the motions. You have Johnny Depp and Helen Boneta-Carter; check. You have people walking through whispy forests at night; check. The main character is pale-faced, outwardly evil but pure of heart, his misdeeds done against his will; check."

There are good points to the film that I didn't expect though. The soundtrack and the film's use of period music is at time utterly inspired, along with a surprise cameo from Alice Cooper that was unexpected (if you didn't read the film's opening credits) but which really worked, leaving you wondering why he hadn't appeared in a Tim Burton film before now. It also had an inspired sex scene, though you do have to wonder exactly when Barnabus managed to unzip his trousers during it.

Ultimately I wish that Tim Burton put more of his so individual inspiration into this film. This film had all the makings of being classic Tim Burton, and maybe that was the problem. The main point of Burton's work is that it shouldn't be predictable. This was predictable and thus, while immensely enjoyable, this isn't Tim Burton at his best, despite being exactly what he's best at.