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Dark Shadows (2012)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror | 11 May 2012 (USA)
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An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.

Director:

Tim Burton

Writers:

Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay), John August (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Barnabas Collins
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Elizabeth Collins Stoddard
Helena Bonham Carter ... Dr. Julia Hoffman
Eva Green ... Angelique Bouchard
Jackie Earle Haley ... Willie Loomis
Jonny Lee Miller ... Roger Collins
Bella Heathcote ... Victoria Winters / Josette DuPres
Chloë Grace Moretz ... Carolyn Stoddard
Gulliver McGrath ... David Collins (as Gully McGrath)
Ray Shirley Ray Shirley ... Mrs. Johnson
Christopher Lee ... Clarney
Alice Cooper ... Alice Cooper
Ivan Kaye ... Joshua Collins
Susanna Cappellaro ... Naomi Collins
Josephine Butler ... David's Mother
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Storyline

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth ... Written by Warner Bros. Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every Family Has Its Demons See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sombras tenebrosas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,685,274, 13 May 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$79,727,149

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$245,527,149
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby, and Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Barnabas Collins, Angelique Bouchard, Quentin Collins and Maggie Evans/Josette DuPres in the original Dark Shadows (1966), appear at the ball at Collinwood Manor in two scenes: 1) when they are welcomed at the door by Barnabas, and when Alice Cooper begins his second number, Elizabeth is seen talking with Scott, Selby, and Parker. See more »

Goofs

In 1776, the American Revolution was in full swing. At the same time Maine was the name of a cultural region, which was legally part of Massachusetts rather than a separate colony/state in its own right (and remained so until 1820). It's odd that neither of these facts came up at any point during the 1776 part of the story. Surely they would have merited at least one line apiece at some point. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Barnabas Collins: [narrates] It is said that blood is thicker than water. It is what defines us, binds us... curses us.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the Warner Bros and Village Roadshow logos appear, the Dark Shadows (1966) score "The Secret Room" can be briefly heard. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Why Do Good Directors Go Bad? (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Crocodile Rock
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hugely disappointing compared to the classic TV show, and is hugely problematic as a standalone film
5 June 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

While it had a bit of a slow start, with technical limitations being obvious and the characters not being as interesting, from the moment it switched to colour and introduced its most iconic character Barnabas Collins (unforgettably played by Jonathan Frid) the 1966 'Dark Shadows' is a classic.

It is easy to see why it was so popular back in its day, and it is equally easy to see why it is remembered so fondly now. Despite its flaws (which were forgivable in a way), this reviewer spent many days and hours watching it with sheer joy, it really helping me get through many stressful and mentally straining times this year at music college (though there were many great times too, and saw a huge progression and several seemingly impossible achievements).

Sadly, this 2012 film version of 'Dark Shadows' was hugely disappointing. As an adaptation of the show, it just doesn't compare and understandably can (and has been) be seen as a travesty to die-hard fans. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp apparently claim to be fans of 'Dark Shadows', but to me that wasn't obvious at all. There was more of a sense that Burton hadn't even seen the show, seeing as the tone and spirit feels completely wrong, or he thought he could improve upon it.

On its own as a film, it has its good points but several major flaws that to be honest for this reviewer were more obvious. It is a shame as I am a fan of Burton's 80s and 90s stuff, especially 'Edward Scissorhands' and 'Ed Wood' which are two of my all-time favourites, but after his career low-point 'Planet of the Apes' he became hit-and-miss. While it is better than 'Planet of the Apes', along with 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Alice in Wonderland' 'Dark Shadows' is very much a lesser effort from Burton.

There are good things. It does look great, with splendidly Gothic and vibrantly colourful sets, wonderful and atmospheric use of colours, effectively ghoulish make-up and appropriately kooky costumes that suited the characters very well, while it's beautifully and stylishly photographed as well. The music score is groovy, rousingly orchestrated, haunting and a long way from forgettable or generic, if not one of Danny Elfman's best or most inspired scores, with some clever song choices. There are some amusing, well-written lines in the script, loved the line about Alice Cooper and it is most successful when Barnabas is struggling to fit in, and a few of the cast acquit themselves well.

Johnny Depp is no Jonathan Frid and he has given better performances (though also much worse, it is one of his better performances in any of his later collaborations with Burton), but he is clearly having a lot of fun as Barnabas without overdoing it and is one of the most involved members of the cast, he also is very charismatic. Michelle Pfeiffer is one of the most successful at injecting a genuine and faithful personality, while Eva Green is both sexy and intense. Cameos by Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper are well-utilised.

Unfortunately, a number of the cast don't come off well. Jackie Earl Haley, who is very good at being menacing and sometimes low-key if he needs to be, looked bored in a role that is so much in the background that there was almost no need for him. Helena Bonham Carter overdoes it and comes over as out of place, while Chloe Grace Moretz is irritating in a negatively stereotypical role. Much of the acting is either over-compensated and bland, being able to do very little to nothing with their dull and often unrecognisable in personality characters, and while it was interesting to see Frid his appearance is far too short to leave a lasting impression. The chemistry between the characters, one of the show's biggest strengths, is barely there.

'Dark Shadows' script has its moments, but these moments are too sporadic. Tonally it is very unfocused and muddled too often, it rarely seems to know whether to be eccentric comedy or full-blown melodrama. It attempts to do both (amongst others) and never completely succeeds at either, the comedy is too sporadic and can be childish and overdone and the melodrama is unmoving and overwrought. Story-wise it's a mess, it never really comes to life, has twists that come out of nowhere and are completely misplaced (especially the werewolf subplot), parts that drag endlessly and contribute very little to the plot and parts that looked alright on paper but executed in a half-baked way.

As a result, the Gothic atmosphere is almost completely lost, with it only being obvious in the production values, while the sex scene choreographed to Barry White is too broad and overly-wild and the ending is overblown to ridiculous extremes. Burton's direction does well with the style is but severely lacking in the story and the substance, where there is a complete lack of heart and soul.

Overall, not awful but disappoints hugely both as a standalone and especially as an adaptation of a classic show. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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