Dark Shadows (2012)

Comedy, Horror
Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter
An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.
The visuals are top notch but Tim Burton never finds a consistent rhythm, mixing campy jokes and gothic spookiness with less success than other Johnny Depp collaborations.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 11 May 2012 Released:
  • 02 Oct 2012 DVD Release:
  • $79.7M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

It seems Tim Burton is the new M. Night Shyamalan...5/10
Upon first seeing the trailer for this movie last month, my film professor called Dark Shadows an "Abomination to the original TV series."

Having never been a fan of the series myself, I can not say weather or not this was fact, but I can say Dark Shadows is a bit of an embarrassment. In the film, Johnny Depp takes on another role where he is cursed with the gift of immortal life. I have always wondered what it would be like to never die, as I have always imagined it would be dreadful (take Captain Jack Sparrow for example). About halfway into this film, I knew what that feeling must be as I was staring at the screen thinking to myself "oh please just kill me now", but nope - I was forced to live on and see one embarrassing scene after the next.

What was Tim Burton thinking when he did this film? He is a good director, not a great one, but a good one. He knows how to put a story together. But with Dark Shadows, all you really get is a collection of stale jokes that are not very funny.

It's like if you went to your best friend's party, and all your mates are sitting around enjoying the night and telling a bunch of hilarious stories. Then your best friend tells a lame joke, but you still feel forced to laugh because he is your friend, even though the entire situation becomes awkward and embarrassing. Dark Shadows tries to be funny, but it isn't.

It's not funny, it's not dramatic, it's not scary, it's not really anything; Dark Shadows is just 2 hours of blah. The story is very badly written; there are so many random events that happen with no overall theme to connect them. During the last twenty minutes you find out the young girl was really a werewolf the entire time, but it has nothing to do with anything in the movie, and no - it's not funny.

Next time I will have allot more empathy when I see that a character has been cursed to live forever.
DULL with little bite. Depp is playing dress up3/10
Oh the possibilities that were missed here. Except for the character names and a similar architecture in the house this film bares very little resemblance to DARK SHADOWS. The movie starts out beautifully and then goes off in so many awkward directions that it never finds what kind of movie it's trying to be. A few scattered laughs here and there do not compensate for a poorly conceived story that meanders itself to the point of being dull and confusing. What can you say about a movie that only comes to life in it's montages set to a pop songs from the early 1970's? Depp doesn't even attempt to capture any of the guilt ridden angst of Barnabas Collins. His Barnabas is a trick or treat Pirates of the Caribbean, very much like a kid playing dress up on Halloween and with two emotions, upset and more upset. Film has some nice set pieces but Burton doesn't bring any true Gothic feeling or sense of dread to the surroundings. The script has that throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks feel to it. Burtons direction comes off in a conveyor belt "okay, let's shoot this one" tone with interest only in visuals, which are striking. He's really more of a visual artist than he is a film director. Indeed, one gets the feeling that this film would never have been made if not for Johnny Depp and his love for the original series which is evident here. It's unfortunate that he relies too heavily on make up to carry his performance. Helean Bonham Carter has no interest in being in the film and it shows, doing it only as a favor to her husband. Eva Green is the type of actress Tim Burton is attracted to and loves to cast in his films, but she possesses little of Angelique's spellbinding jealousy. The only one in the cast that has a hint of what these surroundings should be played like is Michelle Pfeiffer. She is the Grande dame of Dark Shadows capturing both the Gothic feel of the original story and the magnificence of the character.
One of the most boring films I've seen in a long time3/10
Just got back from an early screening of the movie. As someone who like Johnny Depp, I was excited to watch the movie, but nearly ended up walking out of the screening halfway through the movie. There are hardly any entertaining moments, an extremely weak plot, and some very average acting. Sure, Johnny Depp may be a brilliant actor, but there's only so much an actor can do to salvage an immensely boring film. The weak development of the love story, limited exploitation of what could have been some interesting time-travel anachronisms and absurd additions to the plot (like ghosts and werewolves who remain mute spectators throughout the movie only to appear at the very end) were insulting to the intelligent movie-goer..
Empty Darkness6/10
Tim Burton is probably one of the best choices to direct a Dark Shadows movie. He's always good at making Dark, Gothic films and everyone's expecting it to be something like Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow. Instead, it has a hybrid of Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice. It begins with decent gloominess but the rest is scattered with groovy soundtrack and colorful images. But that may not be the problem. It's actually pretty good at recapturing the 70's. The main problem is the plot development. It's fun but also disappointing.

It looks promising in the beginning. Tim Burton uses his campy directing style which made the intro intriguing. It get silly when Barnabas returns from his grave. Exploring the changes of his town. It's quite funny and delightful. There's a good character development in this that made it entertaining. Johnny Depp gives a delightful performance as Barnabas Collins. Eva Green is quite menacing as Angelique. Jackie Earle Haley and Helena Bonham Carter are the extra comic relief. Chloe Moretz is always good at bad girl roles.

There's a lot of fun going on, but in the end, the experience feels like something's missing. It could have been an interesting story but it ends pretty lazy. There are couple of senseless twists that aren't consistent. At least there is something good in the filmmaking. The production design is quite decent and sometimes unlikely colorful. Postmodern music are played often which made Danny Elfman's music score hard to notice. But these merits can't fix the film's storytelling.

Dark Shadows is undeniably entertaining and nothing else. There are things that could have been better. I don't think the colorful groovy look is the problem. It just needs a better ending that gives consistency to the story. People can still give it a try for its camp. There's a true vampire here that is nothing like our modern vampires. Dark Shadows is not bad. It's just unsatisfying. It has the color, life, and all but what's missing is a proper plot development.
Tired formula and a disappointing movie4/10
Let's leave it all at the door here. I loved Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman. Hated Batman Returns, Alice in Wonderland, and Willy Wonka. Could care less about Nightmare before Christmas and Sweeney Todd. Okay, so I'm not a Tim Burton hater. I'm not a huge Tim Burton fan. I think in this situation, I'm as close as you get to the average movie goer. No agenda, no attachments. That being said, this film is terrible. Burton spent so much effort and time worrying about making this film Gothic and off pace, stuffing his favorite actors into the film even though half of their parts were pointless, he forgot he was making a film. It's a simple and fun idea but it feels like ego and "showiness" kept them from making the plot even make sense. We get it Tim! You are weird! Don't ruin a good performance by Depp and a fun idea for a film because you have to live up to your own Gothic standards. Grow up. So much talent is wasted on these films having the same look, cast, and feel to them. Take that talent and make something fresh! Stretch yourself just a tad out of that Hot Topic comfort zone will ya? This movie was long, boring, and ruined. All of the funny scenes were in the trailer. By the way.... wasn't this supposed to be the 70's? Other than a shot or two of trees and a hippie van it was just like the set of Sweeney Todd. The whole film felt like London in the 40's. That's bad film making whether your name is Tim Burton or not.