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Film Fans underwhelmed by Burton, Depp collaboration

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Dark Shadows." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of 4 Stars

From the previews, this looked like it could be a fun and creative Tim Burton/Johnny Depp combination. It did end up having some entertainment value, but I was a little underwhelmed.

A very pale Johnny Depp plays Barnabas Collins, who after rejecting a woman who believes she loves him, has been put under a curse to be a vampire and is locked in a coffin underground. Two centuries or so later, still alive and very thirsty, he is freed by an unknowing construction crew.

The plot thickens when he goes to visit his family estate, which has fallen on hard times and has a very dysfunctional family living in it now. The rest of the movie mainly follows Barnabas trying to redeem the family name and estate as well as the love story that evolves. I enjoyed the performance of Bella Heathcote as Victoria (the new governess) and some of the cute 1970s' references. It looks like they set it up for a sequel at the end but I don't think I'll be racing to see it.

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

2 out of 4 stars

"Dark Shadows" is neither bad nor fantastic; it is very average. The story is surprisingly basic and without twists. There is good acting from Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Eva Green. The same, however, cannot be said for the supporting cast. Chloe Moretz's acting seems too forced, Bella Heathcote's too mechanical and the other characters are simply forgettable.

Depp, in his umpteenth collaboration with Tim Burton, seems to have cemented his place in this genre of movies. He is good with the British accent but may soon want to retire the cake makeup.

It is refreshing to see Carter playing a relatively normal character and without makeup and costumes that are too outlandish. She provides some of the humor in this film. Depp provides a lot of humorous dialog and you've got to love his long, expressive fingers.

Although the story is extremely unimaginative, fortunately, it does rev up in the last quarter with the end showing signs of a possible sequel.

-- Francine Benoit, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

Johnny Depp, as most movie-goers note, has a tendency to play interestingly odd characters with a darker side, and this is no exception.

It's difficult to categorize "Dark Shadows" as one particular genre. It's really not a horror movie, although some gruesome incidents occur. There's romance, but I wouldn't call this a romantic comedy. It's certainly not a drama, nor a true sci-fi movie, either. It's Johnny Depp's individualized style, laced with great humor, along with a retro look back in the '70s.

Depp's character, vampire Barnabas Collins, returns to his palatial childhood home after a couple of centuries of lying in wait. Barnabas' goal is to restore to his nontraditional family the social and economic status that once belonged to the family name, but his obsessed scorned love interest from the past (think: "Fatal Attraction") has plans of her own.

In addition to Barnabas, another of my favorite characters with a well acted and interesting role is the daughter Carolyn played by Atlanta's own Chloe Grace Moretz, and also the unstoppable classic Michelle Pfeiffer.

-- Cathryn Veal, Lawrenceville