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Dark Shadows by Danny Elfman (Review)

posted May 16, 2012, 10:13 PM by Kaya Savas

Danny Elfman and Tim Burton go together like peas and carrots, and with Dark Shadows it seemed like an interesting playground for Elfman to fool around in. The trailers really threw audiences for a loop as it really mismarketed the film. This gothic quirky melodrama seemed like it didn't have much depth. It just felt like a film that is all on the surface with nothing underneath, which is not like Burton or Elfman for that matter. However, the score does validate that notion with the music being very thin. The music is quite tame, but it definitely does pull you in. While I was expecting something more tangible it does do the trick.

I think Elfman takes on a different personality when he writes for Burton. Every one of his Burton scores has a distinct sound that isn't found in his other scores. While I do feel he has personally been in sort of a creative slump these few years, he did manage to bring a great take on Alice In Wonderland. I think it's easy to say that Dark Shadows may be the weakest score Elfman has composed for Tim Burton. There's no distinct flavor or character. It plays everything as is with atmospheric strings and tones. He falls on a few horror cliches here and there, but never overuses them. The score comes into full fruition right at the end when we've already grown a bit tired. But when that flower finally blossoms it does become something unique and interesting. Unfortunately, the track where I first felt the score getting a raise out of me was titled "Windows' Hill - Finale". The score could be labeled as a disappointment, but I think it offers just enough to keep it afloat. Danny Elfman fans should appreciate it, but I'm already looking forward to Frankenweenie which should see Danny Elfman more in his element.

When it comes to Dark Shadows it's too little too late. The score takes an eternity to get moving, and when everything musically comes together it's already at the end. I didn't hate the score, but it didn't really evoke an emotional response from me like Elfman's notably greater collaborations with Burton. This will be one of those cult Elfman favorites, but I urge everyone to check it out.