Dark Shadows

This one seems to be getting mixed reviews, I’m not quite sure why, let’s explore, shall we?

Based on the TV show of the same name from back in the day, the movie version revives the vampire role of Barnabas Collins played by producer and actor Johnny Depp. Tim Burton is at the helm on this one as director and is a great choice as his style plays nicely into the campy-ish moments (without getting cartoony though) as does his sense of gothic design, costumes, effects and makeup.

The story revolves around Barnabas, his family, and the scorned lover Angelique who has a perpetual taste for revenge (she also happens to be a witch). Angelique curses Barnabas and his family after she discovers he’s in love with another. A couple of centuries pass and Barnabas is back to find that his family is in ruins and Angelique has risen to power in the town that was named after the Collins family.

And so it goes…

I’ve heard that people think it changes direction somewhere in the middle. I think I missed the boat on this as nearly everything that came to pass I saw coming from the onset. I was thinking it was even a little too set up at times, although the overall ebb and flow of it seemed to work.

The writing is fun and while a little gimmicky at times, is probably meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek as that is Burton’s style here and there depending on the tone of the film he’s working on. Maybe a little Beetle Juice-ish at times but not quite that over-the-top.

The acting is pretty damn fun to watch, I always enjoy Depp’s flair and style when he works with Tim Burton. Michelle Pfeiffer returns nicely as a somewhat eccentric distant Collins relative and Helena Bonham Carter is as engaging as she usually is. Eva Green as Angelique manages to be hot and menacing all at the same time and you can never get too much of Jackie Earle Haley as far as I’m concerned. Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper and Jonny Lee Miller are in there as well.

Fun to see in the theater for nostalgic horror movie memories!

reviewed by Sean McKnight