DARK Shadows is a curious creation from cinematic blood brothers Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.
The big-budget revamp, pun intended, of the '60s gothic soap opera tries to walk the line between wry humour and dark happenings, but in doing so doesn't feel completely satisfying on either front.
The funny bits of the film, which follows cursed vampire Barnabas Collins as he tries to bring his family back to glory after being buried for 200 years, are almost all in the trailer.
That's not to say I didn't laugh at all those same bits again in context in the cinema, but I was hoping they'd saved a few gags to surprise theatre goers.
A few more laughs might have also distracted me from the fact that Dark Shadows goes on a bit too long.
But there are plenty of reasons to like the film as well.
Dark Shadows is clearly a labour of love for Depp, who is a fan of the original series and reportedly convinced Burton to direct the film.
Depp's Barnabas is the most gentlemanly vampire imaginable. Even when he is sucking people dry he's so proper he can't be scary.
On the other hand, Eva Green is wickedly delightful as the vengeful witch Angelique Bouchard.
Another plus is that the film features the big-screen debut of young Aussie actor Gulliver McGrath as 10-year-old David Collins, who is adamant he sees and talks to the ghost of his dead mother.
And to the film's credit, you don't have to be familiar with the original show to follow the story.
- Stars: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Chloe Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer. Director: Tim Burton
- Rating: M
- Verdict: 3 stars
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