Summary: An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th May, 2012
Australian DVD Release Date: 26th September, 2012
Country: USA, Australia
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Seth Grahame-Smith, John August, Dan Curtis (television series)
Cast: Greg Bennett (Chet the Taxidermist), Susanna Cappellaro (Naomi Collins), Helena Bonham Carter (Dr. Julia Hoffman), Raffey Cassidy (Young Angelique), Alice Cooper (himself), Johnny Depp (Barnabas Collins), Eva Green (Angelique Bouchard), Jackie Earle Haley (Willie Loomis), Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters/Josette DuPres), Ivan Kaye (Joshua Collins), Christopher Lee (Clarney), Gulliver McGrath (David Collins), Glen Mexted (Captain Rubberpants), Jonny Lee Miller (Roger Collins), Chloe Grace Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard), Alexia Osborne (Young Victoria), Michelle Pfeiffer (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard), Ray Shirley (Mrs. Johnson), Vincent Curson Smith (Young Barnabas – Aged 9), Nick Thomas-Webster (Timothy), Justin Tracy (Young Barnabus – Aged 6)
Runtime: 113 mins
OUR DARK SHADOWS REVIEWS & RATINGS
Please check Adam’s Dark Shadows review of that is available on The Crat
Please check Greg’s Dark Shadows review of that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au
Please check Nick’s Dark Shadows review of that is available on Southern FM
Dave’s review from Entertainment Scene 360
After seeing the trailer for Dark Shadows it is understandable that any fan of the original television series may want to give the ‘updated’ movie a serious wide berth. The trailer makes it seem that the filmmakers have taken what is a genuinely a quite dark show and turned it into a outlandish comedy that may even make Jack & Jill look like a viable option. Luckily though, you won’t be feeling that once you have watched it.
After seeing Dark Shadows, you realise that two things save this film. Firstly, it has Tim Burton at the helm as director. Burton brings his unique style of comedy to the film, the kind that has surfaced in some of his previous efforts such as Alice In Wonderland or Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
Burton’s comedic style actually enhances the darker aspects of the film and you have to give him credit for inserting it into the film in such the way that it comes across as being creative rather than intrusive.
The second thing that makes Dark Shadows such a great watch is the great performance by Johnny Depp (we seem to be saying that a lot recently, even with films that bomb like The Rum Diary). Depp is completely unrecognisable as Barnabas Collins a vampire who awakens after two hundred years only to find that his family, now headed by Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), are no longer business leaders and that his enemy, the sexual Angelique (Eva Green) now basically owns most of Collinsport.
The Angelique versus Barnabas storyline is what keeps the audience interested in Dark Shadows. It is easy to understand Barnabas’ hatred for her, after all she murdered his lover, cursed him to become a vampire, ruined his family and eventually sentenced him to two centuries of being chained and buried in a coffin. With all this going on it doesn’t necessarily take any special writing from the screenwriters to have the audience warming to Barnabas while really hoping for the demise of Angelique.
There are a lot of things to love about Dark Shadows, but there are some things that are slightly annoying. Product placement becomes a real issue in one scene of the film. All the creative ways that could have been used to introduce Barnabas to the seventies seem to have ignored in favour of a scene depicting him being blinded by the light of the golden arches on a McDonalds sign. It’s not hard to figure out that good ‘ol Maccas would have paid a pretty sum to have had that included.
It also seems at times during the film that the characters surrounding Barnabas, Elizabeth and Angelique have been completely forgotten in the script. Poor Chloe Grace Moretz does a wonderful job in the role of Elizabeth’s daughter Carolyn but she often seems to be conveniently left out of some of the important scenes. So, much so that when the plot twist that involves her occurs in the latter scenes the audience probably wouldn’t even give it a second glance. All you can hope is that if they do make a sequel that Moretz is given a lot more to do.
These are, however, just small gripes about a film that at the end of the day works amazingly well. For the most part the screenplay tells a story about a character that the audience is going to love (even if he kills a few people along the way) and the ‘big business’ storyline revolving around Angelique will certainly be lapped up by those critical of large corporations.
As mentioned previously, Depp clearly steals the show in the acting stakes, but it would be a crime not to mention Helena Bonham Carter’s quirky portrayal of Dr. Julia Hoffman. Carter always seems to shine when working for her husband (director Tim Burton) and Dark Shadows is no exception. In the hands of a lesser gifted actress, this role could hae become a total farce, but Carter knows when to push the comedy and knows when to hold back. The result is a portrayal of a character that wouldn’t seem out of place in Absolutely Fabulous.
Eva Green also steps up from her recent performances and seems to enjoy the fact that she is portraying the vampy ‘bad’ girl. In a lot of ways her performance completely outshines the one of Bella Heathcote who as Victoria (the ‘good girl’ and love interest to Barnabas) should be the one given the chance to shine. In reflection, Victoria is yet another character who seems to be a victim of being ‘forgotten’ in the script at times when her character should have been made a major focus.
Dark Shadows is a testament to the genius of Tim Burton. It’s a dark comedy enhanced by some great acting, a decent script and a soundtrack that really captures the essence of the 70s (watch for a cameo by Alice Cooper). This is a film that is well worth a look if you like your films on the quirky side.
Dave’s review from Buzz Magazine
With any ordinary director at the helm, Dark Shadows would have become the shallow comedy that its trailer hinted it could be. But Dark Shadows isn’t directed by any ordinary director, no it has the legendary Tim Burton (Alice In Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) in charge… and with his unique sense of humor infused into this dark tale you have a very good film indeed.
Based on a television series Dark Shadows tells the story of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp – 21 Jump Street, The Rum Diary) a young man who is cursed by a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green – Perfect Sense, Womb), and becomes a vampire whom is then imprisoned for 200 years.
When Barnabas is awakened he finds that Angelique has destroyed his family’s business and now pretty much ‘owns’ the town that his family set-up. Even the mansion he once lived in is in ruins as his distant relatives struggle to make a dime.
Barnabas arrives back at his old home and encourages his relatives, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer – New Year’s Eve, Personal Effects), Roger (Jonny Lee Miller – TV’S Emma & Dexter), Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz – Hugo, Hick), David (Gulliver McGrath – Hugo, The Long Night), the family doctor, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter – Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Toast) and the butler, Willie (Jackie Earle Haley – Louis, A Nightmare On Elm Street) to help him rebuild his family empire and destroy Angelique.
And while trying to get used to the culture of the 1970s Barnabas also tries to find out how to impress the 1970s’ female when he finds himself falling for the Collins family governess, the mysterious girl who calls herself Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote – In Time, Beneath Hill 60).
Tim Buton’s cool imagination runs riot with Dark Shadows and it is one of the things that makes the film work. The film’s humour works, and despite some of the jokes being really obvious it seems to fit with the films style. But more importantly Burton gets the right mix of comedy and darkness. As a result you like Barnabas as a character despite the fact that he does in fact kill innocent characters throughout the film.
The screenwriters need to be congratulated for that, but they also need to be thanked for not taking away any of the suspense that this film needs either. Together with Tim Burton they really have created a surprisingly good film.
As a credit to what a fine actor he is Johnny Depp manages to outshine everyone else even though this is an ensemble cast. He is unrecognizable as Barnabas, a role he seems to totally lap up. Eva Green gets the chance to announce herself as the ‘baddie’ but so many of the rest of the cast, such as Chloe Grace Moretz, really aren’t given enough screen time to allow them to shine. You especially feel sorry for poor Bella Heathcote who does nothing wrong but at times it feels like her character has been forgotten about by the script. Let’s hope that if a sequel gets made some of the other characters get a look in as well.
As far as a good mix of horror and comedy goes Dark Shadows works absolute wonders and is a joy to watch. Dark Shadows is a lot better than its trailer suggest and really does deserve to be seen on the big screen.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Dark Shadows′: Nil.