Dark Shadows Movie Review

There were 1,245 episodes of the gothic soap Dark Shadows between 1966 and 1971, so adapting it into a movie was never going to be easy. The script is an odd mix of smart dialog and random plot-strands, and while Burton gets the style right he never quite finds the tone.

After spending nearly 200 years trapped in a coffin, Barnabas Collins (Depp) is released to rejoin what's left of his wealthy New England family in 1972. The matriarch Elizabeth (Pfeiffer) now lives in the falling-down manor Collinswood with her brother Roger (Miller), her daughter (Moretz) and his son (McGrath), as well as a live-in shrink (Bonham Carter), a caretaker (Haley) and a new governess (Heathcote). But Angelique (Green), the witch who turned Barnabas into a vampire, is still trying to destroy the family.

The script is a collection of soap-opera story threads: Angelique's increasingly maniacal efforts to thwart Barnabas from saving the Collins family business, Barnabas' sudden crush on the governess who looks like his long-lost love, the young son's mental instability after his mother's death. Strangely, this leaves the terrific Pfeiffer with nothing to do but radiate her character's exasperation. Bonham Carter, Moretz, Haley have fun even though they too sit mainly on the sidelines. And Miller is completely superfluous.

Through all of this, Depp once again camps it up to fine effect as an undead gentleman outside of his time. This leaves Green to give a wildly over-the-top performance that calls to mind the Meryl-Goldie diva-off Death Becomes Her, especially when the effects wizards get their hands on her. But the film isn't a broad comedy, and there are occasional moments when everything comes together into something rather sophisticated and darkly witty.

Indeed, the script is packed with clever dialog, and Burton keeps it eye-catching, with first-rate effects, clever set design and warm cinematography. The 1970s period allows for a steady stream of amusing gags, plus music from the Carpenters to Alice Cooper, who pops in to perform a couple of numbers on-screen. But for the most part, it's simply not funny enough to keep us entertained and not dramatic enough to hold our interest.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Christi Dembrowski, , David Kennedy, , Richard D. Zanuck


Comments

Dark Shadows Rating

" Weak "

Rating: 12, 2012

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Win Tickets For V Festival 2014 in Chelmsford!

V Festival is getting ever nearer and tickets are quickly selling out, but you can skip that pricey entrance fee by entering our new competition...

Win Tickets For V Festival 2014 in Chelmsford!

First Pictures Of Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’ Starring Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp

Have you ever wondered what happened to Cinderella, Rapunzel and...

First Pictures Of Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’ Starring Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp

Critics Say 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Is Great, But Does Anyone Disagree?

The new Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy has been praised to the...

Critics Say 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Is Great, But Does Anyone Disagree?

Ariana, Zooey, J-Lo, Miley! When Actresses Become Songstresses

Jenny Lewis isn't the only former actress to find musical success.

Ariana, Zooey, J-Lo, Miley! When Actresses Become Songstresses

Jennifer Lawrence Is Hollywood's Darling - How Has She Done It?

A teaser trailer for Jennifer Lawrence’s new film, The Hunger Games...

Jennifer Lawrence Is Hollywood's Darling - How Has She Done It?

What Do We Know About Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?

Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey made a surprise visit to the San Diego Comic-Con last...

What Do We Know About Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?
Advertisement

The Celebrities That South Park Loves To Hate

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV series on the box at the moment but that hasn’t...

The Celebrities That South Park Loves To Hate

Ray J - Never Shoulda Did That Video

Ray J expresses remorse over his highly publicized sex tape back in 2007 with his self-directed music...

Ray J - Never Shoulda Did That Video

'Girls' Actress Allison Williams Lands Role Of 'Peter Pan' In NBC's Live Stage Production

NBC's forthcoming live stage production of 'Peter Pan' has just cast...

 'Girls' Actress Allison Williams Lands Role Of 'Peter Pan' In NBC's Live Stage Production


More recommendations

Advertisement