I can think of only a handful of film stylists that rival Tim Burton in cinematic vision, whose work is singularly distinctive, and few have been as successful in merging live action and animation as Burton. Perhaps Burton's parody of the classic TV goth soap opera Dark Shadows would have been an interesting and enjoyable experiment -- rather than just an experiment -- had it been wholly animated. As it is, the movie, while as beautiful as any other Burton production, lacks a consistent tone or temperament. In fact, for uncomfortably long stretches it's beyond tedious. The cast, led by Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (Mrs. Burton), appear to be game but just barely. Set in 1972, the fim recounts the story of cursed vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp) who is released from his casket prison on the Collins family's New England estate about 200 years after being locked away by the bitter and long-lived witch Angelique (Eva Green) , whose love he spurned. It is fun after a fashion but not nearly as consistent in its clever cultural references as it needs to be to be a full-blooded spoof. The script is silly, set pieces strained and uncertain and the direction is sure but oddly purposeless. Unfortunately, and perhaps ironically, much of this very expensive affair about the living dead just lies there. A real disappointment.