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Empty Darkness
Mek Torres10 May 2012
Tim Burton is probably one of the best choices to direct a Dark Shadows movie. He's always good at making Dark, Gothic films and everyone's expecting it to be something like Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow. Instead, it has a hybrid of Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice. It begins with decent gloominess but the rest is scattered with groovy soundtrack and colorful images. But that may not be the problem. It's actually pretty good at recapturing the 70's. The main problem is the plot development. It's fun but also disappointing.

It looks promising in the beginning. Tim Burton uses his campy directing style which made the intro intriguing. It get silly when Barnabas returns from his grave. Exploring the changes of his town. It's quite funny and delightful. There's a good character development in this that made it entertaining. Johnny Depp gives a delightful performance as Barnabas Collins. Eva Green is quite menacing as Angelique. Jackie Earle Haley and Helena Bonham Carter are the extra comic relief. Chloë Moretz is always good at bad girl roles.

There's a lot of fun going on, but in the end, the experience feels like something's missing. It could have been an interesting story but it ends pretty lazy. There are couple of senseless twists that aren't consistent. At least there is something good in the filmmaking. The production design is quite decent and sometimes unlikely colorful. Postmodern music are played often which made Danny Elfman's music score hard to notice. But these merits can't fix the film's storytelling.

Dark Shadows is undeniably entertaining and nothing else. There are things that could have been better. I don't think the colorful groovy look is the problem. It just needs a better ending that gives consistency to the story. People can still give it a try for its camp. There's a true vampire here that is nothing like our modern vampires. Dark Shadows is not bad. It's just unsatisfying. It has the color, life, and all but what's missing is a proper plot development.
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Insults about half of the original fans
melody2311 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
With the admonition, "I never liked the bitch anyway," the Willie character in the new DS dispatched my favorite Dark Shadows character, pretty much summing up Depp and Burton's apparent opinion of her. For me, Dark Shadows was about Julia and Barnabas. Their chemistry created the dynamic that made the show work for me. I'm not only a first- generation DS fan, I'm the co-author of the Dark Shadows Companion.

Johnny Depp, supposedly a first-generation fan, even though he's two years younger than I am and I'm supposedly very young for a first generation fan, apparently thinks Barnabas Collins is part moral icon, part victim of his crotch. I wonder if Depp was watching the same series I was. As much as I loved the original Barnabas, I see no trace of the character in his interpretation. Frankly, the minute he murdered Julia, the whole movie collapsed for me -- the implied oral sex scene was bad enough, but the killing finished it. In the House of Dark Shadows big-screen remake this was accepted by fans because the series was still on-going. Depp does not have that salvation.

I really don't care that she's alive for the sequel. I doubt there will be a sequel. If there is, it's still not the characters I grew up with.

However, we're supposed to be reviewing what the film is, not what it's not. What it is, is an overstuffed suitcase that somebody sat on in order to zip it shut. It spills out all over everywhere. The cohesiveness is forced. The characters are largely unrecognizable. As I watched the film, I was at first taken by the wonderful graphics, but Collinwood seemed to morph into Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

There are some good performances, it's occasionally slightly funny, it's graphically intense and interesting, but Depp and Burton seem to have nothing but contempt for the original series. I'm sorry, but flawed and bad as it could be, Dark Shadows was still far more compelling on its tiny budget than this movie was with its huge one.

What a shame -- and a waste. I really wanted to like it.
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One of the most boring films I've seen in a long time
lance-pinto9 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Just got back from an early screening of the movie. As someone who like Johnny Depp, I was excited to watch the movie, but nearly ended up walking out of the screening halfway through the movie. There are hardly any entertaining moments, an extremely weak plot, and some very average acting. Sure, Johnny Depp may be a brilliant actor, but there's only so much an actor can do to salvage an immensely boring film. The weak development of the love story, limited exploitation of what could have been some interesting time-travel anachronisms and absurd additions to the plot (like ghosts and werewolves who remain mute spectators throughout the movie only to appear at the very end) were insulting to the intelligent movie-goer..
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DULL with little bite. Depp is playing dress up
cliffcarson-111 May 2012
Oh the possibilities that were missed here. Except for the character names and a similar architecture in the house this film bares very little resemblance to DARK SHADOWS. The movie starts out beautifully and then goes off in so many awkward directions that it never finds what kind of movie it's trying to be. A few scattered laughs here and there do not compensate for a poorly conceived story that meanders itself to the point of being dull and confusing. What can you say about a movie that only comes to life in it's montages set to a pop songs from the early 1970's? Depp doesn't even attempt to capture any of the guilt ridden angst of Barnabas Collins. His Barnabas is a trick or treat Pirates of the Caribbean, very much like a kid playing dress up on Halloween and with two emotions, upset and more upset. Film has some nice set pieces but Burton doesn't bring any true Gothic feeling or sense of dread to the surroundings. The script has that throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks feel to it. Burtons direction comes off in a conveyor belt "okay, let's shoot this one" tone with interest only in visuals, which are striking. He's really more of a visual artist than he is a film director. Indeed, one gets the feeling that this film would never have been made if not for Johnny Depp and his love for the original series which is evident here. It's unfortunate that he relies too heavily on make up to carry his performance. Helean Bonham Carter has no interest in being in the film and it shows, doing it only as a favor to her husband. Eva Green is the type of actress Tim Burton is attracted to and loves to cast in his films, but she possesses little of Angelique's spellbinding jealousy. The only one in the cast that has a hint of what these surroundings should be played like is Michelle Pfeiffer. She is the Grande dame of Dark Shadows capturing both the Gothic feel of the original story and the magnificence of the character.
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Dark Shadows (2012)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain2 September 2012
I saw every Tim Burton film since Mars Attacks! at the cinema. Until this came along. I had had enough of Burton's subpar efforts over the years and Alice In Wonderland was his last chance as far as I was concerned. Finally saw this and I'm glad I waited. This is simply awful. Based on a soap opera, Burton doesn't seem to know what to do. It changes tone dramatically from obvious humour involving Depp's character waking up after 200 years of being buried and being confused by things such as television. To grisly kills where he takes out innocent victims. There are a whole cast of characters, each one is given their own story, but none of them are given enough time to develop. Miller, Carter, Heathcote are all wasted as are their stories. I didn't even get the point of Miller, which is a shame because he was great with what he had. Entire scenes have no place in the film, or are needlessly long and repetitive. The main plot seems to have Eva Green asking Depp to be hers and him rejecting her, over and over and over again. It really does feel like snippets from a soap opera condensed down. This is really just a clip show. By the end it starts pulling things out of its backside. Couldn't care for anybody in this film and think the original property should have just been left alone.
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Tired formula and a disappointing movie
We Watched A Movie11 May 2012
Let's leave it all at the door here. I loved Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman. Hated Batman Returns, Alice in Wonderland, and Willy Wonka. Could care less about Nightmare before Christmas and Sweeney Todd. Okay, so I'm not a Tim Burton hater. I'm not a huge Tim Burton fan. I think in this situation, I'm as close as you get to the average movie goer. No agenda, no attachments. That being said, this film is terrible. Burton spent so much effort and time worrying about making this film Gothic and off pace, stuffing his favorite actors into the film even though half of their parts were pointless, he forgot he was making a film. It's a simple and fun idea but it feels like ego and "showiness" kept them from making the plot even make sense. We get it Tim! You are weird! Don't ruin a good performance by Depp and a fun idea for a film because you have to live up to your own Gothic standards. Grow up. So much talent is wasted on these films having the same look, cast, and feel to them. Take that talent and make something fresh! Stretch yourself just a tad out of that Hot Topic comfort zone will ya? This movie was long, boring, and ruined. All of the funny scenes were in the trailer. By the way.... wasn't this supposed to be the 70's? Other than a shot or two of trees and a hippie van it was just like the set of Sweeney Todd. The whole film felt like London in the 40's. That's bad film making whether your name is Tim Burton or not.
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OK if you haven't seen the older versions
earlytalkie11 May 2012
I am a huge fan of the old Dark Shadows shows. I liked the old series, bloopers and all. I liked the films House of Dark Shadows and to a lesser degree Night of Dark Shadows. I liked the 1991 revival series of Dark Shadows. This new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version has some good elements in it, like the costumes, soundtrack and special effects, but the problem here lies in the written word. The script relies too much on gags, some funny and some rather lame. The basic characters are mostly here with the exception of the melding of Maggie Evans into Victoria Winters, and the actor playing Willie Loomis does a better job with the character than did the one from the 1991 revival, who chose (or was directed) to play the role as a half-wit.(The one element I disliked about the revival). The 1970s music, cars, costumes and hairdos are spot-on and add to the comfy 1970s feel of the piece. The climax is all special effects and one "revelation" of the plot is so absurdly done here that it is (unintentionally) laughable. In all, I would say that this film may appeal more to those who never saw any of the original versions of this than the fans of them. I didn't hate this film, I just didn't love it either.
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Johnny Depp vanity piece
msmith54849 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is nothing but an excuse for Johnny Depp to put on make up and clothes and play a foppish character. He does it well, great in fact, but that's not a reason to make a movie. This was very much a disappointment. Too much happens too quickly and other things happen without much thought. Characters are not defined and Michelle Pfeiffer and Jackie Earle Haley are wasted. We have a vampire, witch, ghosts and a werewolf and not much scare or many laughs.. a few chuckles at the 'fish-out-of-water' aspect, but "Austin Powers" was funnier and more poignant. I didn't understand the motivations for any of the characters except the witch who curses Barnabas to be a vampire... he essentially uses his servant girl for sex then falls in love with another woman, no wonder she wanted revenge. This was a disjointed piece of distraction. Barnabas kills a bunch of construction workers, which has some scares, then he kills hippies, for laughs. He complains that killing is destroying his soul, but we don't see any reason to believe that. The sets and costumes are excellent as is the cinematography. The only thing missing is a well thought out story. The final shot suggests a sequel... which would be a curse.
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one of the best of the Hollywood re-imaginings...
A_Different_Drummer10 January 2017
Lets be frank. If you had a dime for every time Hollywood took something dusty and old, and tried to turn it into something shiny and new, you could retire.

In fact, most of these attempts barely work. But (having seen this one front to back three times since its first release) I believe this is an exception and moreover I believe that viewers have become so jaded to these attempts that they instinctively rebelled against the film (hence the low rating) without even giving it a chance.

The script by Seth Grahame-Smith is witty and clever and engaging. And wonderfully demented. The cast is to die for. Eva Green and Johnny Depp are at the peak of their craft, delivering with a straight face bits of dialog that lesser actors would choke on. The supporting cast (almost all A-list with a young Chloë Grace Moretz) is rock solid.

Overall a delightfully deranged yet still entertaining exercise in being silly -- which is exactly what Hollywood aims for in these odd exercises.

The IMDb rating is much too low. Give it another chance.
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Keep these two away from each other
peryteran29 May 2012
The film can't decide whether it's a fish-out-of-water comedy or a Gothic thriller/romance. Instead, we get treated to a bipolar movie that is, at times, really funny, but mostly full of unnecessary exposition. I think Burton wanted to honor the TV show by adding in so many details, but frankly, it was boring at times as they moved from one plot point to another. Some of the "wrap up" surprises at the end came off as forced. Though I'm glad they didn't rely on as much CGI to create the set pieces, one major scene involving a concert looked like it was stolen from the Austin Powers films.

Johnny Depp did some great physical comedy as well as Helena Bonham Carter and Jackie Earle Haley, but Dark Shadows should go back to the grave.
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Barnabas Collins is a real vampire
mombot8 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Dark Shadows is one of the 5 films I have been eagerly awaiting to see this summer and was very excited when I got a pre-screening pass to see it just a day ago. (I've seen The Avengers, too, so that's already 2 out of the list.) After seeing it last night, I couldn't decide what I thought about certain elements of it until this morning. When a film stays in my head, I know it's made an impression and again, Tim and Johnny have done just that. I can "replay" most of the movie in my head. Everyone is the way you'd expect their character to be and they are all excellent in their roles. They've made a film that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. When Barnabas hypnotizes someone, you believe he's doing it. Johnny is amazing, again! The sex scenes, such as they are, imply rather than show anything, but the expressions on Barnabas' and Angelique's faces tell you a lot. The story is (ahem) fleshed out rather nicely as everything is explained in due time and you're not hit over the head with stupid jokes. There is a good balance of humor and drama and even a bit of sweetness when Barnabas is with Victoria Winters (but not the kind that is sappy). Barnabas does reveal who his to Elizabeth but how this transpires and what it leads to is interesting and not played for laughs. Michelle "gets" Elizabeth and even her false eyelashes are a nod to the original TV show actress' look. The costumes! Colleen Atwood has done it again. 'Nuf said. There are Sleepy Hollow-like elements in the use and look of the blood, the horror elements (like when he kills) and can I mention the fangs? They come out when he's about to dine. They're marvelous! I will probably see this again with some friends as I'd like to see Dark Shadows in IMAX because, heck, IMAX is wonderful. My recommendation: Go see it! 9/10
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Surpassed My Expectations
rannynm29 October 2012
The film Dark Shadows opened to an eagerly awaiting audience of both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fans. Based on the ABC daytime show which aired during the late 1960s which generated a cult following, what was taken seriously in the late 60s / early 70s comes across as comedy today. The majority of the movie is set in 1972 and incorporates music from the Moody Blues (Nights in White Satin) with appearances by Karen Carpenter in a TV scene, a cameo appearance by Alice Cooper and appearances by four of the original Dark Shadows actors including Jonathan Frid who passed away shortly after filming. Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content , drug use, language and smoking, one of our 14-year-old critics, Raven Devanney rated it 6 out of 5 stars for ages 13 and up. Here's her take: Dark Shadows Reviewed by Raven Devanney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2NE6UPSLcM Dark Shadows is a hilarious movie about a man named Barnibus Collins, who is cursed by an evil witch when he refuses to give her his love. Turned into a vampire, Barnibus is locked away in a coffin for two centuries. Now, freed by unsuspecting construction workers, Barnibus finds that his home town of Collins Port has drastically changed. He must learn to fit into the 70s while protecting his family, restoring Collins Port to its former glory and riding himself of the evil witch, Angelique, who cursed him to be a creature forced to hide in dark shadows. I absolutely loved this movie. Johnny Depp, who plays Barnibus Collins, did fantastic! Johnny is one of my all time favorite actors and when he teams up with director Tim Burton, you know it's a film worth seeing. The cinematography was great because of the gloominess that you will often find in Tim Burton's films, but they found a flawless way to thrown in the bright colors of the 70's. The special effects were great too, especially in the end when Angelique's skin started to crack; she really looked as if she was made out of porcelain. Something that did bother me about the visuals was that the blood in the film looked way to fake considering that it is a vampire movie. My favorite character would have to be that daughter of the Collins family played by Chloe Moretz. One; she is my favorite young actress, two; she played a moody, mellow dramatic, angsty teenager perfectly. The acting in this film was priceless because there was a lot of over- acting, but not in a cheesy way, it was done very purposefully and it gave a wonderful comedic feel to dramatic situations. I suggest this film for ages 13 and up because of sexual situations, mild drug use and language. I would give this film 6 out of 5 stars because it far surpassed my expectations!
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Classic Tim Burton - Awesome
ElektraRawks20 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Time Burton scores again. This show is great and I will be getting it when it comes out on Blu-ray.

This is NOT a remake of Dark Shadows. It's a funny tongue-in-cheek spoof in the lines of Burton's Alice in Wonderland. As a die-hard fan of the TV series I can honestly say this is just a lot of fun. Depp is great and the rest of the cast was well chosen. Even the music, which is all of the 70's era, is perfect for the movie. Alice Cooper's appearance was a blast and fit in well. There are twists everywhere and it doesn't matter if you catch them or not. I bet you'll miss a few. LOL

Go see the movie. Don't over analyze it is, just enjoy it. Come back to IMDb and rate it. It deserves a 10.
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Hugely disappointing compared to the classic TV show, and is hugely problematic as a standalone film
TheLittleSongbird5 June 2016
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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Absolutely great opening scene, then terrible!
mntwister18 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Warning: a few spoilers but nothing about the ending: I have been a fan of Dark Shadows since the days of the late 1960's and running home from school to catch the show when I was 9. I tried to go into this with an open mind. I promised myself that I would realize this was not going to be my beloved Dark Shadows but hopefully something of value to see. The entire opening sequence, where young Barnabas leaves for the United States to the building of the Collinwood estate to Josette's jump off of widow's hill had me cheering in my seat-YES this was going to be fantastic (though all of the opening storyline was terribly rushed, including Angelique putting the curse on Barnabas).

Then Johnny Depp (Barnabas) was released from his coffin in 1972. And from that point on, which was most of the movie really, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. I find it very hard to believe that Depp and Burton were also kids like me who ran home to see the original series. Why did they take this direction? I mean panties on Barnabas' face in his coffin? Carolyn saying "Yeah I am a werewolf, get over it" when the entire movie we knew nothing of her being a werewolf? I was never so ashamed of Burton and Depp like I was today.

The original cast members are there, for about 2-3 seconds, walking into a party, and in the background again for 2 seconds for a shot. They were flown to England to do cameos. For 2-3 seconds? I mean, come on! And the humor, some jokes were just plain awful.

If Burton and Depp had taken the route they took with Sleepy Hollow, this could have been one of the best stories in film this year. If they had stayed with the feeling one got in the first 7 or 8 minutes,this could have been an absolutely fantastic horror movie. Instead it not only insults (rather than respects) Dark Shadows fans, but it completely loses that great feeling that was there for the opening sequence, which I loved, when Depp is telling the history of the Collins family.

I was turned off by the rock music at the very end, why not have all the credits playing some of the original Dark Shadows music, and why couldn't Danny Elfman interweave the main theme of the original into his music somewhere. Instead, the action scenes had that "Mars Attacks" opening credits type score, which I do love, but not here. The opening credits, instead of a good horror score, had the Moody Blues? Geeeez! And Alice Cooper at a party given by the grand Elizabeth Stoddard? Unbelievable. I think someone like Glen Close or even Judy Dench would have played a better head of Collinwood, Phiffer was just too young even though she did a decent job and tried, but all she had were bad lines to work with.

Barnabas not having to sleep during the day in his coffin, but using a hat and umbrella with dark glasses to keep out the sun and the light? And couldn't Burton take a break from all the white faces again (and again and again)?

I find it hard to believe that some 18% of people gave this a 10. I guess these must be under 18. I can assure you than anyone who knows anything about the original Dark Shadows did not give this a 10. Why didn't they just make a vampire movie and leave Dark Shadows out of it and let someone make a real Dark Shadows film? If you want to see what Dark Shadows was and why it was so beloved, see the original film from MGM with the television series cast, "House of Dark Shadows." I hear Warner is going to release it at the same time they release this new piece of junk on video.
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Will Suck the Life Out of You
Catt Jones11 May 2012
I guess I will start out by saying that I am a huge Johnny Depp fan and that I even like some of Tim Burton's works (Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas). However, that being said, I did not like this film all that much. If you are looking for some comedy in this film, then go and watch the trailer, because most of the funny parts are in it. I understand that this film was supposed to be a spoof of the soap opera that appeared in the 1970's, but it really fell short of my expectations. I remember being in elementary school and rushing home to see what was happening on Dark Shadows. In this film, not only did I not want to see what happens next, I really didn't care. Johnny Depp (Barnabas Collins) once again embraced his character and does a really fine job of making the character believable, but the content just wasn't there. I don't think that this film ever decided what it wanted to be when it grew up. There were elements of comedy, horror, drama and even a little romance. There was some jostling around in this film between Barnabas and Angelique (Eva Green), but you could almost sense the wires that the actors were tied to. And is it just me or does Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters/Josette DuPres) look a little like Anne Hathaway? Victoria and David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "I see dead people". I guess my favorite character in the film was Willie (Jackie Earle Haley) who was Barnabas' sidekick. He was fun to watch even though he did not have many lines (thank goodness). This film may end up sucking the life out of your expectations. By the time you get to the end of the film, things get downright silly and stupid. The last ten minutes of the film I kept thinking to myself ….. oh brother. Also at the end of the film there was almost a hint of a sequel; man I sure hope not. Not all of the Depp/Burton collaborations have been successful and this is one of them. If you just want to see Johnny Depp on the big screen, then by old means go. However I think that this film should be locked in a box (redbox). As sure as my blood is red, so is the light for this film.
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Burtons Dark Shadows....Always Look The Same
werefox0810 May 2012
After making a really bad Willy Wonka & and a quite terrible Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton ----Johnny Depp pairing presents us with the jackpot. A shockingly puerile Dark Shadows. Having interesting sets and lots of make up is not sufficient to make a good motion picture. The use of "humour" is awful....well worn jokes about the "fish out of water" theme, and other predictable nonsense & rubbish.....the weak, tired dialogue is simply not good enough. The central story (actually there is no perceptible central story !!) is so badly handled ....this may go down in history in the cult genre of "one of the worst movies of all time". This really is Ghastly Gothic Garbage. Tim Burton always gives us lots of heavily made up actors, bad scripts and good looking sets. However, these things become tiresome after a while ....even the Tim Buton "fans" must see this as a very impotent movie. Take a holiday Mr. Burton. Come back when you have a new idea. We have seen all of this before.
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Could have, should have been better
gregeichelberger8 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's intriguing that a film which features - literally - sex, drugs and rock and roll (along with plenty of blood, gore and monsters) can run out of steam in the second half and result in one of the least favorably-rated Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaborations since "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the abysmal "Alice In Wonderland."

The whole idea of taking the first Gothic soap opera (which ran from 1966-70), a tale of vampires, horror and longtime family curses, and putting it on the big screen, at first seemed a stretch; but when director Burton decided to travel the comedic route, many fans and less-interested folks alike were even more skeptical.

I, too, had doubts, having actually seen the television show (I was very young, but remember the creepy opening theme music) and thought making this sort of a fish-out-of-water "Brady Bunch Movie" thing was a bit absurd. Then, I saw the preview and - for the first half, was pleasantly surprised.

It begins in Liverpool in 1752, when the Collins family, dad, mom and young son, Barnabas, immigrate to the United States and settle in Maine. There, they establish a fishing business and soon are the richest people in Collinsport. As a young man, Barnabas (Depp) woos a scullery maid, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green, "Casino Royale," "The Golden Compass"), but refuses to marry (or even acknowledge his love for) her.

Ticked, as ANY woman would be under these circumstances, she uses her substantial witchcraft powers to cause the death of his beloved fiancée, turn him into a vampire and have the townspeople bury him alive. Almost 200 years later, a construction crew inadvertently unearths the coffin and Barnabas now must face life in 1972.

These scenes are easily the movie's best, as he tries to deal with the trappings of modern society; the sights, sounds, technology and mores. He then locates his ancestral home and discovers that it is now inhabited by the remains of his depressing, downtrodden descendants.

These include Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeifer, "New Year's Eve"), her brother Roger (Johnny Lee Miller, "AEon Flux," the television series "Dexter"), her daughter Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz, "Kick-Ass," "Hugo"), Roger's son David (Gulliver McGrath, "Hugo"), a meek governess, Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote, "In Time"), an alcoholic caretaker, Willie (Jackie Earle Haley, Academy Award-nominated for "Little Children), a senile old maid, Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley) and a drunken live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street").

Over the past two centuries, the accursed Collins family has not only fallen out of favor with their namesake town, but has fallen into despair and near poverty, as well. Their only assets being a broken-down cannery and a few feeble fishing boats. Meanwhile, Angelique is still alive and controls most of the fishing fleets in the town, and is rich beyond imagination.

Using a hidden treasure trove, Barnabas restores the Collins' wealth and prestige, which sets up the conflict in which Barnabas battles his former trollop for control of his business, his soul and his family legacy. His efforts to fight this imposing demonic figure and to continue to get used to things in the seventies, spark some genuine laughs, as does his initial introduction to the ridiculous household.

Things begin to go South, however, when there are several real (and not very funny) killings; hey, Barnabas IS a vampire, after all, and he NEEDS blood. It's just most of these characters were actually interesting (including a group who just wanted to help him out of a tough situation). The inclusion of these mass murder scenes was not charming or darkly-humored, just disturbing.

Then, there is the introduction of a few supernatural monsters that turn up, muddle the conclusion, present really lame and not-so-special effects and end up not resolving much of anything.

And while Depp remains true to his Willy Wonka/Jack Sparrow/Michael Jackson motif character hybrid he seems to have established in recent efforts, Burton's quirky and slipshod direction has never been more evident - or glaring here.

The only thing I can write about this picture that was consistently terrific was the soundtrack. From "Nights In White Satin" to "Bang a Gong," to "Theme From 'A Summer Place,'" to "My First, My Last (My Everything)" to "Crocodile Rock" to "Top Of the World" to "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (as sung by Alice Cooper in an amusing cameo), these tunes - while not ALL from 1972 - still had me humming along and enjoying the show.

I just wish the rest of the film would have had the same effect on me.
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This film is a disaster, and not an "homage" to the original "Dark Shadows" at all.
Tessa1113 May 2012
How sad that Burton/Depp decided to "sex-up" this film with breasts, bad actresses, and lousy script offerings. Not one character was worthy of any type of accolade. Some things should be left in the past...and this is one of them.

Sure, you had the basic premise of pitiful Barnabus being cursed by Angelique, but there was no back story of any worth. Josette was thrown in as just a "special-effect" death...with no relationship with Barnabus, whatsoever.

Fast-forward to the future and it's sick/silly. Nothing was funny and they showed every single joke in the trailers. Felt sorry for the "whoosh" from the original cast that got thrown in...and Chris Lee was useless.

The lines of this film were thrown away...and close-ups of Depp's various makeup jobs were sloppy.

There is no excuse for doing a film of this cheapness and calling it after something that was so enjoyed by past generations. Two series are worth more than this mess. Please....save your money and rent the originals...from Net Flix.

See what true story-telling should be, not this lack-a-daisical junky stuff. This will end up being on the bottom of every Walmart bin....for $1 for many years.
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Just Awful
I was probably more excited than anyone when I heard a new Dark Shadows movie was going to be made. I was even more excited to learn Johnny Depp was behind it. WIth his clout in Hollywood, and his fan base, I knew the movie would get the needed financial backing and draw a crowd at the theaters. This was going to be great.

Then I heard Tim Burton was signed on. It never occurred to me, and I suppose it should have, that he would bring Tim Burton into the fold. Tim has done some great work - Sleepy Hollow is a favorite of mine, except the scene with the old witch who was a talking skull whose eyes and tongue popped out (stupid) this was a great film. Once I heard Tim was on board I knew the stupidity would commence and the film would be ruined. I really hoped Depp wouldn't allow "Stupid Burton Tricks" in this film. They were both supposed to be fans of the show. Clearly, they weren't. They just made the claim to win over TRUE Dark Shadows fans. It is unfortunate that Depp allowed Burton to ruin what could have been a great film. It's unfortunate Burton was ever signed on to the project.

The other reviews here give enough examples of the stupidity I refer to. I had hopes for new blood for Dark Shadows. A new future, with new stories. Now I can only hope we won't have to endure a sequel as well.

Thanks Tim for driving a stake through the heart of my childhood memories.
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What a disappointment
Having been raised on the original Dark Shadows TV series and having seen the original dark shadows movie (btw, it was done MUCH better than this farce) I was disappointed... in the roles Jonny Depp and Tim Burton played in bringing this mockery to the theater. It bears VERY little resemblance to ANY of the original series or movie, and that resemblance is only in the names of the characters.

How a Gothic romance horror can be turned into this joke of a movie is beyond my ability to comprehend. there was no horror and very little "goth" or romance. I understand the need to "modernize" a movie to make it appealing to a different generation, but this is not modernization, it is butchery. Would you approve of the works of Shakespeare being butchered in such a way? The tell tale heart turned into a comedy with NO resemblance to the original work? No..

My advice to all those who loved the original series OR the original movie? No not watch this, you will /wrists before the movie is even 1/2 way through.

And Tim Burton? Jonny Depp? I am ashamed and appalled to EVER call you great after what you did to this story...
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Snark Shadows
lilgrasshoppah20 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
While I can forgive Tim Burton a great many INSTANCES of narrative sloppiness, because he is FAMOUS for being a "style over substance" kind of storyteller, this film is a unmitigated failure on almost every level, and if there is justice in the world, should end the partnership of Burton and Depp. And, why? Because:

1. Barnabas is a weak protagonist. He is presented, in the wholly unnecessary prologue, as inheriting wealth. He doesn't desire ANYTHING. They say he preserved the Collins fortune, but we don't see it. We see him making vague, shallow, investigations into The Dark Arts, but we never see anything come of it. (for example, Mephistopheles is not the name of the Devil. Neither, incidentally, is Azazel, Adramelech, Aschema, Beelzebub, Belphigor... These are all names of demons. And I am no student of the dark arts, by any means. I'm just a researcher, at best).

Barnabas is merely a cold fish, who spurns a lover... who happens to have much more power than he imagines. And, too bad for him.

But, who is the protagonist, if not him? As near as I can tell, it's the witch. She's the plucky adventurer, who pulled her self up by her boot straps. She's the one with specific goals, and drive and passion. She's the one with the perfect breasts.

2. The story elements are muddled, with too much of everything, and not enough of anything. Element one: witchcraft. Element two: vampirism. Element three: seeing ghosts. Element four: lycanthropy. Element five: child neglect and abuse. Element six: seventies concerns like the president, the war, as well small town commerce and politics. Each element is mentioned in a slap-dash, superficial, referential way. They are not made to matter.

Any story problem is literally solved by 'hand-waving'. Barnabas needs a servant, so he wiggles his fingers, and voilà: loyal, slightly stupid, butler/chauffeur. He needs to hire a flotilla of fishing boats, and he overcomes the wise old captain with more or less exactly the same method of jazz hands/Nosferatu fingers. And nobody else seems to notice the shenanigans or care. (This is actually an epidemic in the film. The Good Doctor discovers there's a vampire in her immediate vicinity, and, yet, she is easily mollified with "be fascinated". Ol' Barny-boy lights himself on fire by standing in a sunbeam, and everybody kinda shrugs and moves along.)

3. Nobody... expects the Spanish Inquisition. Also, nobody says 'no' to Eva Green's breasts. They're like the two towers: YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS! And, so you see how ham-fisted cultural references just isn't funny. Spoiler Alert: Alice Cooper is in the film. Spoiler Alert # 2: Alice Cooper is played by a dude named Vincent Damon Furnier. Spoiler Alert # 3: Barnabas thinks Alice is "the ugliest woman ever". This is an old joke. It's such an old joke, it makes you remember how young you were, when you first heard the joke... and then you get depressed about how old you are now. Referential humour is like salt, a dash gives you seasoning; a lot gives you a coronary. My chest hurts.

4. What does Barnabas want? Success and True Love. So he nips down to the larder, and rustles up some jewelry. How does that work, exactly? "you want to refurbish your home? Nifty! We take cash, Visa, and rubies..."? We never see him working for his success. Rather, it just happens. And nobody seems to notice. Similarly, the way he goes about courting Josette 2.0 /Victoria-if-that-really-is-her-name leaves much to be desired. I've been in love a couple of times. Funny thing: the girl I FIRST fell in love with... I still think about her now. A decade later. I wonder how she is. I sometimes hear her voice on the breeze. And when I was still with her, well... I thought of nothing else. I ate and drank and slept her. Love was an all consuming passion. Barnabas rather forgets Whatsherface. He's too busy making clueless "ball" jokes that AC/DC made in 1976. And eating hippies, and who doesn't eat hippies? And killing the doctor (again, nobody goes, "Hey, that perpetually drunk, quasi-somnambulist psychiatrist woman... where did she go...!?").

How much better if he spent his time wisely, either menacing his sworn-enemy-who-locked-him-in-box-for-two-centuries... or wooing the lady he claims to love? But no. There's none of that. He even took time out of his (not very) busy schedule to hate-f**k his nemesis. At least that's what I think they were doing. They destroyed her office, but kept their clothes on. Not even a frond of his elegant Hipster-Gothic hairdo was out of place, after. And it was risible, and not at all erotic.

Don't get me wrong, if Eva Green professed undying love for me, and offered her undying body to me, I'm pretty sure I could play along, at least for a bit. But then, she hasn't killed my true love and my parents, and destroyed my family's name and business, or (oh yeah) locked me in a casket for two hundred years. So, there's that.

The problems of the film can be enunciated in two clear flaws.

1. When you consistently make style over substance films, you become a prisoner of your style. So, in the final scene, where Barnabas lies at the bottom of the cliff, with his now transformed-lover, I don't think, "oh! How romantic!". I think "holy poop-skates! It's the chick from Corpse Bride!"

2. A vanity project almost always comes off as vain, even pointless. And who wants a pointless vampire movie?

In the end, I could have saved myself $31.50, and stared at a dreamy poster of Johnny Depp... Or that chick from Corpse Bride.

I give it two stars, one for each of Eva Green's arresting... eyes. (got ya!)
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Family Is the Only Real Wealth
Claudio Carvalho6 October 2012
In 1760, the Collins family moves from Liverpool to the Maine to expand the family empire and dedicate to fishing business. One year later, they are successful and the city of Collinsport is raised in the place. Then, for fifteen years, Joshua and Naomi Collins build their Collinswood mansion. Their servant Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) has an unrequited love for their son Barnabas (Johnny Depp) that actually loves Josette DuPres (Bella Heathcote). But Angelique is a powerful witch that curses Barnabas and his family, killing his parents, Josette and turning him into a vampire. Then she brings the locals that lock him in a coffin and bury him for the eternity.

In 1972, the young Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) comes to the decadent Collinswood to be the tutor of the young David Collins (Gulliver McGrath), who lost his mother two years ago. She finds a dysfunctional family composed by the devoted matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) ahead of the family business that is near bankruptcy; her rebel daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloë Grace Moretz); her brother and David's father Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller); the psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) that takes car of David; and the servants Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) and Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley).

When eleven workers release and awake Barnabas, he drinks their blood and returns to Collinswood. He meets Elizabeth and she tells that the family has been cursed, and Barnabas shows a hidden room with a treasure in side and he promises to protect them and assume the business. When he sees Victoria, he rekindles his love for her. But the witch Angie is still alive and is prominent in the town and she has not forgotten Barnabas.

"Dark Shadows" is a film by Tim Burton that has a promising beginning but the development is lost between comedy and horror. As usual, the dark cinematography is awesome and the music score is spectacular, with hits from the 70's. This film is certainly not among the best films by Tim Burton, but is entertaining. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Sombras da Noite" ("Night Shadows")
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Just Horrible!
gingercat1233 November 2012
Bleh! I am so over the weird and quirky Tim Burton stuff. How about a different approach... make an interesting, smart, and compelling movie. As a fan of the original Dark Shadows TV show, this was a huge disappointment. What a missed opportunity to provide the massive baby-boomer audience with something they could really sink their teeth into. I am a fan of Johnny Depp. But my two favorite movies of his were Chocolat and Donnie Brasco. Both of these movies had absolutely nothing to do with Tim Burton. He is a very capable actor with the ability to play many genres. But I don't think he has explored his potential enough. This will never happen as long as his movies involve the 'creative team' of Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton. Bored to tears, I had a hard time staying awake while trying to watch this movie.
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Best Movie I've Seen I Quite Awhile
rjk54117 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was a huge fan of the original Dark Shadows serial soap. Watched it every day until it was preempted in Los Angeles by the Senate Watergate Hearings. Tim Burton's version of Dark Shadows staring Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfieffer is a great send-off to the series and other 70's horror movies. Green puke: The Exorcist. Wearwolf: Wolfen. The boy staring in the hall: Damien from The Omen. And the 1970's soundtrack was second to none, starting with "Nights in White Satin." It was tacky, funny, a little scary, and definitely another Burton hit. I would go see it again in theaters, watch it every time it is on T.V., and go see the sequel too. This is one of few movies that I see out of the over 40 new ones I see per year that I can truly say: You gotta see this flick!
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