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Dark Shadows

A 2012 movie directed by Tim Burton based on the supernatural soap opera

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A Visually Beautiful Gothic-Like And Delightful Film

  • May 15, 2012


Tim Burton and Johnny Depp come together again in this wonderfully delightful film.  Depp proves again that he is capable of successfully portraying any type of character - his talent seems to reach out to the viewer in a huge way - every role he has played he always manages to convince me he really is the character he's playing; it's almost hypnotic, and his role as Barnabas Collins was no exception.

The film starts out as Collins being a child with his parents; they move from Liverpool to America, in Maine, and the family builds a fishing empire and is called Collinsport.  A grown up Collins is the master of Collinwood; he is rich, successful and has been taught that family is the most important treasure in the world.  He falls in love with Josette (Bella Heathcote) but makes the mistake of pissing off the witch Angelique (fabulously played by Eva Green) - she dooms him to be a vampire, then buries him alive.  Almost 200 years later, he is accidentally dug up during a construction renovation - he is so grateful that he kills the construction crew - well geez, wouldn't you be thirsty after 200 years?

The year is now 1972 and Collins then sets out to go back to Collinswood - his beautiful mansion awaits him - alas though, he can not seem to figure out what he sees on his way there - a road (he timidly puts his feet on this strange thing on the ground), a vehicle (what the hell is this moving thing with giant eyes?) and by the time he gets to Collinswood, he is a little stunned, to put it mildly, to see that it is not what he remembered; a once grand mansion has fallen into ruin and he is greeted by the remains of the Collin family - a very dysfunctional family.  Elizabeth (Michelle Pfiffer) is the one member he trusts his true identity with.  Then there is the live-in drunken psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) who learns soon enough not to ever cross Collins (he never forgives), Elizabeth's rebellious teen daughter Carolyn (Chloe Grace Mortez), Elizabeth's no good brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) and Roger's young son David (Gully McGrath) who so badly needs to be understood and believed.  A new governess has been hired named Victoria and she looks exactly like his love Josette from 200 years ago.  To make matters worse, the town has been taken over by Angie, who bears a striking resemblance to the evil witch Angelique.

As the story goes on, Collins deals with his family's dark secrets, making his grand mansion beautiful again, trying to learn about the newfangled things he sees; lava lamps, television, Alice Cooper ("she is the ugliest woman I have ever seen") - (you can imagine how confused you would be if you woke up 200 years later after a deep sleep), wanting to be with and save his true love all the while doing his best to avoid the intimidating and forceful Angelique so he can possess his fishing empire again.  He even meets up with some hippies so he can learn a thing or two. The seriousness of his problems were lightened by subtle humor.   Depp plays his character perfectly - a wonderfully graceful, prim and proper gentleman with a hypnotic and smooth voice - he adds a delightful humor to his role while keeping the viewer fully aware that he is never to be crossed.  He adds a gentle touch to his character and his facial expressions are priceless.  I was amazed at the performance of Angelique; Eva Green was marvelous and convincing in her role as an evil witch - and there seemed to be a nice chemistry between her and Depp.  

It seemed that the other character's roles may have been a little incomplete at times - it was impossible to really get into the full disclosure of the dysfunctional family simply because there were so many characters. I could not quite grasp the feelings between Collins and Victoria (his love) as their scenes together were short and far between, so any chemistry between them was non-existent. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and there was a genuine gothic feel to the atmosphere, so this made up for the lack of characterization for me.  It truly is a beautifully mastered visual film.

All in all, this was enjoyable for me, despite the emptiness I felt with the characters.  Depp's accent and classy wardrobe along with his debonair mannerisms are convincing, and the gothic feel of the entire movie was wonderful.  Green's performance as Angelique was also convincing and delightful - you could practically feel her wrath.  Pfiffer's role as Elizabeth was also nice though it seemed incomplete at times.  The ending of the movie actually leaves you with more information about the family, so do not be dismayed during the film and wonder what the hell is going on in the minds of this bizarre family!

I give this 3 1/2 out of 5 - if you want to really get the feel of the gothic atmosphere and appreciate the beautiful scenery as well as the fabulous grander of the Collinwood mansion,  I would suggest you see it in the theater.  The 1970's music also was a nice addition to the authentic feel of the movie.


A Visually Beautiful Gothic-Like And Delightful Film A Visually Beautiful Gothic-Like And Delightful Film A Visually Beautiful Gothic-Like And Delightful Film A Visually Beautiful Gothic-Like And Delightful Film

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February 19, 2013
Spooky pictures for sure !
May 15, 2012
very Nice! I have to say that you did an exquisite analysis of the movie, glad you decided to review it. I really cracked up with that crack with Alice Cooper and the one with McDonald's. I did notice that you put more photos of Depp than Eva Green in the review LOL!.
May 15, 2012
LOL I guess I did put more Depp pictures than Eva Green didn't I? Hey but at least I put a pic on with her in the fabulous red dress! And thank you for the compliment Will - I appreciate that coming from you.
May 15, 2012
Michelle Pfeiffer (who looks stunning at 52) and Eva Green...my day is made.
May 16, 2012
LOL - yeah Pfiffer does definitely look good for her age - what else did Eva Green play in??
May 17, 2012
Eva was in "The Dreamers", Casino Royale, Kingdom of Heaven and Camelot. I like her better when she wore little to no make up.
May 17, 2012
I have not seen those movies so it's no wonder I didn't recognize her! She was good in this movie--I liked her.
More Dark Shadows (2012 Film) reviews
review by . May 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Tim Burton Brings Barnabas Collins in the Swinging, Hip 70's....
When I first heard that Tim Burton was making a film based on the vampire soap opera of the same name “Dark Shadows“, I have to admit I really didn’t know what to think. Burton is great in making his own material but I have always had mixed feelings when it comes to him re-interpreting other people’s works. I loved “Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands”. I even liked “Cabin Boy” but I had …
review by . May 26, 2012
posted in Dark Shadows
I'm an old school Dark Shadows fan who used to run home from school like everyone else, saw both of the original films when they came out, protested at NBC when the 1991 series was cancellled and have attended several of the conventions. Given all that I really enjoyed this film that injected comedy and changed the Barnabas Collins tale.     This one left off the time travel and had Barnabas freed from his coffin into a present where Collinwood is in ruins and the family is far …
review by . May 13, 2012
posted in Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows (2012) is destined to split the audience into two camps.      Camp A will love this movie because they are fans of the Burton/Depp team. In their eyes, B/D can do no wrong, because the source material is immaterial. They go in expecting only to be entertained by a certain kind of shtick...and in this particular case, they received it in spades, and therefore went home from the theater quite pleased from having their expectations met.      Camp …
review by . May 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****    "Dark Shadows" does well to give us just about everything we've come to expect from a director-and-star collaboration between the highly imaginative Tim Burton and the illusive character actor Johnny Depp. There's a heart and it's always beating; illuminated by Burton's colorful, visionary sets and camerawork. The man knows what he wants, what we want, and what the studio wants in return. He's out to please. Sometimes, this is a problem, and other times, …
review by . September 05, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   There's no miracle that Tim Burton knows how to create dark cartoonish worlds in which wild colors and vivid characters battle for the enchanted ground of these fantastic universes. Dark Shadows is wild, goofy, and colorful but it kinda feels like an asthma crisis. You know you have this urgency and impatience to watch the next Tim Burton film but even as a fan of him it does nothing in the end but providing you sudden gasps time after time. It's an interesting thing because …
review by . May 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         In a 2007 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Johnny Depp proudly stated that, as he grew up watching Dark Shadows, he wanted to be the vampire Barnabas Collins. “I think lots of kids did,” he said. “He was super-mysterious, with that really weird hairdo and the wolf’s-head cane. Good stuff.” Depp is now luckier than ever to be dear friends with Tim Burton; apart from the fact that he helmed this year’s film …
review by . May 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Remember when Tim Burton had some indie cred, and his emo movies were something new that brought credibility and something different to the movies.  Remember seeing his remake of Planet of the Apes, how he had them wear those stupid hats, just how upset you got seeing it, and wishing things could go back to the way they were.  It hasn't.  You would think a movie based on a sixties vampire soap opera would be right up his alley.  And maybe it was.  And Burton …
review by . May 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'Dark Shadows' 'Two Jews On Film' Show Their Teeth Over Johnny Depp's Campy Performance (Video)
      By Joan Alperin Schwartz      For those of you, like myself, who aren't familiar with the television series 'Dark Shadows' which ran from 1966-1971, here are the film's cliff notes...   The year...1750 (give or take)      A wealthy young man named Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) gets it on with his maid, Angelique (Eva Green) who just happens to be a witch...She feels the love...He...not so …
review by . May 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
DARK SHADOWS Written by Seth Grahame-Smith Directed by Tim Burton Starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green   Barnabas Collins: Of all the servants I could have spurned, I got the witch.   The original soap opera television series, DARK SHADOWS, is before my time, I’m afraid. I’ve never seen the show but from what I understand, it was a bizarre endeavor that, about six months into its roughly 5-year and 1225 episode run, introduced ghosts and other supernatural …
Quick Tip by . October 10, 2012
Forgettable enough take on the TV soap opera about a business magnate turned Vampire by a jilted lover and locked away, re-awakening 200 years later in the 70's. Enjoyable enough for what it is, but few laughs and the familiar trappings of the pairings of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and HBC have wore out they're welcome.
About the reviewer
Brenda ()
Ranked #70
I love to read mysteries and thrillers; I am addicted to scary psychological thrillers and horror movies; "The Exorcist" and "Silence of the Lambs" being 2 of my favorites. I love … more
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About this movie


The first photos from the set of TimBurton’s Dark Shadows adaptation have surfaced online and they reveal Johnny Depp looking about as creepy as you would expect him to look in a Burton film. In case you’re unaware, Dark Shadows sees Depp making a turn as Barnabas Collins, a powerful playboy who is buried alive in the 18th century only to reemerge in 1972 as a vampire who is none too pleased with the ruin of his once fine piece of real estate.
Check out the set photos and an official synopsis after the jump. Also starring Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, EvaGreen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Lee and Jackie Earle Haley, Dark Shadows is slated to hittheaters on May 11th, 2012.
Click over to Celebuzz to check out more Dark Shadows set pics [click to enlarge]:
Here’s the official film synopsis:
In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him ...
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