For this review, I will completely cast aside any knowledge that an original Dark Shadows TV series exists. That way, I can look at the film in the most unbiased light possible. And even in that light, Dark Shadows is awful.
Starring Johnny Depp, as Barnabas Collins, and co-starring Johnny Depp looking at things and making facial expressions, Dark Shadows deals with Collins being turned into a vampire, and then being locked away for 200 years, and finally waking up in the groovy 1970s.
If you already think that you’ve guessed every single joke that will be made in this movie, based on that simple description of part of the plot, you are almost certainly right about all of them. Lava lamps! McDonald’s signs! Roads! Whether it’s a cliché of the ’70s or not, Barnabas will almost assuredly take the time to look disgustedly at it.
Johnny Depp steals the movie, if only because he is simply forced to. He’s in nearly every scene, and all the other actors seem to have been thrown haphazardly into the mix.
Dark Shadows also uses the very successful method of having a number of people that you don’t care about (mainly because the movie never takes the time for you to get to know them) and then giving them each a story. This turns the plot into an absolute mess, as nothing ever feels resolved or explained or even remotely satisfying.
Watching Dark Shadows is the equivalent of going to a restaurant and, based on things you’ve heard eavesdropping, attempting to piece together everyone’s history. It’s as if Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the screenplay, and then threw it in a dryer for editing.
Also in this film is Tim Burton regular, Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Dr. Julia Hoffman, an alcoholic psychiatrist, hired by the Collins family to help the youngest son, David. Hoffman secretly wants the immortal life that Barnabas has and does two things to get it. Secondly, she attempts to use Barnabas’ blood transfusion for herself, in a trick that doesn’t really work, considering how obvious it is.
I said “secondly” first, because the “first off” is much more ridiculous. First off, she butters him up or something, by performing fellatio on Barnabas, after he compliments her once. I’m not joking. He says some passive excuse of calling someone pretty and she, in less than 30 seconds, decides to, and starts to blow him. I can understand this logic though. It’s things like this that force every bar I go to to install condom vendors. Barnabas ends up killing Hoffman by drinking her blood, simply because he’s a vampire and vampires, when pissed off, can do that shit.
Dark Shadows treats two of the three “romantic” plot lines like this. (Yes, the aforementioned fellatio is romantic to me. Sorry, first date.) The second of these romantic plot lines deals with Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), the angry blonde who turned Barnabas into a vampire and locked him away for two centuries in the first place.
The Collins family has always made its money off the fishing industry, and, to further her vendetta against Barnabas for not wanting to lay her in the 1700s, Angelique has also started a very successful fishing business, right next to the Collins’ one.
At one point, even while he is also taking the time to reconnect with someone whom he considers to be the embodiment of a former love, Barnabas decides to consent to having rolling wall sex with Angelique, while “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” by Barry White plays. They destroy tables, mirrors, and desks in their attempts to prove that, while love is temporary, lust is eternal, and the comedy of them smashing everything in the damn room gets dull into the fifth second.
Discover the third romantic plot line and the verdict on Dark Shadows after the jump…
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Year Released:
- 11 May 2012
- Tim Burton
- Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, and Eva Green
- Fantasy, Horror, Comedy
- Official URL:
- Dark Shadows Official
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