The third romantic plot line deals with Barnabas’ true love, Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote), who is the spitting image of Josette DuPres, someone Barnabas loved in the 1700s, until spiteful Angelique cursed Josette to kill herself. Despite this being probably the most important part of the entire movie, it’s the least fulfilling of all the romances. And that’s when you know the movie has failed. If you can’t make the reconnection with a soul mate more interesting than an impromptu blowjob or sex on a ceiling, you’ve failed. No, wait. I take that last part back. I wasn’t thinking clearly.
Despite how willing the denizens of Collinsport are when it comes to having sex with a pale vampire that they’ve just met, the characters who don’t jump bones are surprisingly dull. The ones who matter to the plot (and I use “matter” loosely. Nothing “matters” in Dark Shadows. Half way through, they could’ve replaced the film with Hulk Hogan’s grill commercial and I simply would’ve accepted it as a narrative twist.), are Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Grace Moretz) and David Collins (Gulliver McGrath).
You see Carolyn is secretly a werewolf, something she proves with little backstory in the climax of the film, and David sees his dead mother, who he calls upon to scream at Angelique, also a part of the climax of the film. I would be fine with both of these things if I knew why in the hell they were happening and why I was supposed to care about them. But I don’t. And that’s my biggest complaint about Dark Shadows. It absolutely refused to make me care about any of it.
Tim Burton’s touches are evident and they’re as Tim Burton-y as ever. Everyone is pale in contrast to the sometimes vibrant and sometimes dull surroundings. The film’s costumes and sets are very stylized and I have no problem with this. It gave me something nice to look at while I was trying to imagine what life would be like had Dark Shadows actually been relevant to any part of my life. Oh, and Christopher Lee makes a cameo. I totally forgot about that. You will too.
The Verdict: [rating:1]
A lot of critics that I respect have given Dark Shadows some positive ratings. However, I hated Dark Shadows. It was poorly paced, muddled, and only halfway nice to stare at. I can only hope that Barnabas Collins would look at this review and flare his nostrils.