Film: Dark Shadows? Worst movie of the year
May 18th, 2012
Omaha, NE – What happens when you resurrect a 1960s soap opera about the undead? From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Dark Shadows.
Ryan: Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t going to be pretty. We’ll be unleashing a series of strongly worded declarations.
Matt: Because nothing turns this world on its head like a strongly worded declaration.
Ryan: Having seen Dark Shadows…
Matt: Endured. Let’s say having endured Dark Shadows.
Ryan: Thanks for the assist. Having endured Dark Shadows, the only conclusion can be that the cinematic marriage of director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp has become metaphorically abusive. The once promising Depp has now officially wasted the prime of his career following around a man who makes movies that are about as inspired as a cartoon copied on Silly Putty.
Matt: Dark Shadows is stupid. That could really be the entire synopsis, but you don’t pay us to stop there.
Ryan: They don’t pay us at all.
Matt: Then let’s stop there. Okay fine, the movie follows Depp as Barnabas Collins, the fancy and pale heir to a fishing empire in the 1800s. When he spurns a servant girl and it turns out she’s a witch, his true love gets murdered, he gets turned into a vampire, and is buried alive for two centuries. When he wakes up, he finds his descendents are inept, his company is in ruins, the witch is still running around causing havoc, and he won’t stand for any of that. There’s also a love story of sorts, but giving it one sentence here would be more development than the movie gave it.
Ryan: In addition to being woefully boring, remarkably unfunny, and featuring a climax in which Depp gets vomited on by a witch, the film also does something even more vile. Chloe Grace Moretz is a lovely young actress who is all of 15 years old. So what does Burton do? Have her slink around and dance in sultry fashion for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and then has Barnabas ask her how old she is, as if to reiterate how terrible this unnecessary sexualization is.
Matt: Depp phones it in, but so did everybody. Even the writer and editors. Sometimes Barnabas burns in the sun, sometimes he doesn’t. In one scene, he calls attention to his bloody clothes, then turns and they’re gone. It’s a sloppy, amateurish, uninspired train wreck.
Ryan: So here come the declarations. First, Burton has gone from a good director with bad films to a bad director with good films.
Matt: And second, Johnny Depp is vastly overrated, having not made a movie that’s any good in almost a decade.
Ryan: Whether you are motivated by nostalgia for the source material or the creative team involved, do yourself a favor and avoid what is the worst movie so far this year. This vampire movie will suck the fun out of your day.
Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.