Dark Shadows: Review

14 May

In 1774, the master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green).  Secretly a witch, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the changed world of 1972.  Over the last two centuries, the Collins family has suffered from the curse cast by Angelique and the now risen Barnabas makes it his mission to make his family prosperous once more.

Dark Shadows was originally an American series that ran from 1966-1971 and then there was a revival series in 1991.  Both series are unintentionally hilarious and highly enjoyable.  According the Burton, he was a huge fan of the 1960s series and wanted to focus on the funny and quirky aspects of Barnabas Collins and his family.

I was skeptical about Dark Shadows because I despised Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton’s films are becoming hit or miss for me.  Well let me tell you, Dark Shadows is horrible.  I can’t even sum up all the terrible things about the movie…so here’s just a few.  The characters are sedate and lack any real depth.  Accomplished actors like Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Botham Carter are completely wasted.  One of the only well-developed characters is Barnabas Collins.

The worst mistake a director can make is when the audience can’t sympathize with the protagonist and I think Barnabas Collins is an hypocritical douche.  For example, Barnabas is a vampire and he kills at will, but the minute somebody else does something questionable, Barnabas kills them.  He also “falls in love” with the Collins family’s governess Victoria, who happens to be the reincarnation of his wife from two centuries before,  but it’s hard to believe that Barnabas really loves Victoria considering he bangs both Angelique and Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Botham Carter). Obviously, he didn’t learn to keep it in his pants.

The only saving grace of Dark Shadows is Eva Green as Angelique.  Angelique’s desire to possess and punish Barnabas drives the entire plot and her hatred of the Collins family is understandable even though it’s excessive.  Green’s scenes are the only bearable ones and I kept hoping that she would destroy the Collins family in the end.

Let me sum it up by saying Tim Burton has lost his mojo.  Sure, his films are still quirky and gothic, but it’s all too familiar and it feels lazy.  Do not waste your money on Dark Shadows. 


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