Movie Review: Dark Shadows

Details from IMDB:

Dark Shadows Poster


Dark Shadows (2012)

PG_13 113 min  -  Comedy | Fantasy  -   11 May 2012 (Canada)

Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,527 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 73 user | 88 critic | 40 from

An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.


Tim Burton


Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay), John August (story), and 2 more credits »


Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green

Initial Thoughts:

Ok you knew I was likely to review this Smile. As you all know I love vampires and I am a fan of Johnny Depp (and to a lesser extent Tim Burton). Vampires are also a good creature to occasionally have fun with, so that further enticed me. Then with not much else to do on a Friday night we went.

Main Points:

Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a nearly 200 year old vampire who is out to restore his families business and connected with his descendants still living in the Collins’ Estate.

Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a good performance as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Helena Bonham Carter has fun as an alcoholic, rather depressed psychiatrist Dr. Hoffman.

I also liked to see a small cameo by Christopher Lee and an smaller role by Jackie Earle Haley was also worth a few laughs.

Let’s get to the plot though (as usual I’m summarizing/not going through all of it). Barnabas Collins and his family moves from Liverpool to the USA in 1752. Things go well for the Collins until Barnabas falls in love with a woman and spurns the affections of Angelique Bouchard (played by the very sexy Eva Green) for Josette. She is a witch and not only makes his girlfriend of the time commit suicide but also turns Barnabas into a vampire and entombs him in the ground.

Flash forward almost 200 years and we see the Collins’ in the family manor with their business in ruins, the house a shambles and most of the family hating each other. Hope is not lost, however, as a work crew digs up the ground for a McDonald’s they find Barnabas’ coffin and release him, now the movie starts to be fun Open-mouthed smile.

Barnabas is severely out of touch and gets to say funny things like calling the McDonald’s sign “Mephistopheles!” (which may not be that far from the truth Winking smile). He freaks out at a car, thinking it is the devil come to claim him but does finally make it back to the manor.

Once the family believes he is not there to harm them (at first they think he is a strange cousin from England) he helps to rebuild the house and the business.

Depp pulls off being both a creepy and very comic vampire many times, he really makes the movie worth watching. He get’s to say funny lines like “you have fine birthing hips” to women and has a fun conversation with hippies (until he kills them all for their blood Vampire bat). Back to the plot though, all is not well as Angelique is also still around (witches now all the best spells! Hot smile) and is still ready to pick up where she left off with Barnabas.

Barnabas, however, is falling for a human woman, Victoria (played by Bella Heathcote) who has recently been hired as a nanny. Of course she reminds him of his long lost love from 200 years ago (no wonder as she speaks with Josette’s ghost regularly). This was very obvious and one of disappointing aspects of the movie. Before I continue…


So Barnabas is one popular vampire with the ladies. He is wanted by Dr. Julia Hoffman, Victoria and Angelique. He also wants to become human and hope that this can be accomplished through blood transfusions. Secretly though Julia wants to become a vampire and has been giving herself his blood. Barnabas discovers this and kills her for it.

He is given not one but two offers from Angelique (he takes her up on the offer of sex) but ultimately spurns but her business offer and he profession of love for him. So Angelique destroys the Collins’ warehouse and puts Barnabas back in a coffin.

It all comes to a conclusion with Angelique trying to kill the whole family and the manor. Barnabas get’s help from all the family in different ways and ultimately kills Angelique for good. (Worth noting here is a terribly corny scene where she literally reaches into her chest and gives him her heart, kind of pathetic).

Barnabas is forced to turn Victoria to save her from falling to death (Angelique seems to like making people commit suicide) and the movie ends with the knowledge that Julia is not dead after all! (I wasn’t really shocked Winking smile).

Despite the negative reviews I enjoyed this film to an extent. The plot is very simple, straightforward (and thin) but I just had fun with Depp as a vampire. There were some good performances and I do give a reserved recommendation (for a cheap night after you’ve seen Avengers of course Smile) and a 7/10 Thumbs up. Speaking of  Avengers my review will be up in the next day or two. Have a great Mother’s day and until next time I am..




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