Dark Shadows

The Collins family came to the New World in the 1700s and created a fishing empire. They had the town named after them and lived a lavish lifestyle.

When Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) spurned the woman who loved him, Angelique (Eva Green), things took a turn for the worse. She cast a hex on the family. Barnabas’ parents were killed, and the legacy started to collapse. When Angelique found out that Barnabas loved another, Josette (Bella Heathcote), she made Josette commit suicide. Barnabas saw her plummet to her death, and jumped after her, intending a Romeo and Juliet style double suicide. On his descent, Angelique cast a spell turning him into a vampire. Thus, he survived the fall. She turned the town against him and had him buried, to suffer for eternity.

Two hundred years later, in 1972, Barnabas was unearthed during construction of a new McDonald’s. Hungry from his entrapment, he quickly drained all of their blood and headed back to his homestead. Finally arriving home, he finds the last of the Collins family. Only Elizabeth Collins (Michelle Pfeiffer) learns his secret.

The younger Collins have their own issues. David (Gulliver McGrath) is frequently converses with his mother’s ghost. And has a less than stellar father, Roger (Jonny Lee Miller). The story line involving the latter seems superfluous, and I question its inclusion, other than to match, what I imagine, is an important element in the series. And Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz) has her own secret, revealed at the end.

Together, the family sets out to get the family business back on track, and out from underneath the shadow of Angelique’s new empire.

If you are a Tim Burton fan, this movie is made for you. It has all the requirements to meet his m.o. A dark story line. A dark sense of humor. Johnny Depp. And Helena Bonham Carter. If you could take or leave Burton’s style, or you never watched the original Dark Shadow series from the 70s, then I would skip this one.

To that note, it seems Helena Bonham Carter is only included because it’s in Burton’s contract to have her and Depp in all of his movies. Sure, she provides a laugh or two. But provides little else.

Not a terrible movie. Just not a great story. The movie, as a whole, is a Burtonesque dreamland. One I’m sure he is proud of. But it didn’t do much for me. If you’re a diehard fan, you can go see it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Either way, if you want to sit through it, wait for the DVD. And use a free RedBox code, if you can happen upon one. I don’t want to be responsible for you losing the $1.20 it costs these days.

I only hope the set up for the sequel is merely the suggestion that the story continues, and never actually materializes.

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