“Dark Shadows” is a reimagining of the gothic soap opera from 1966-1971. Tim Burton gives us his version of the Collins family with lots of humor and dark wit. The acting is decent and the movie has the artistic charms that Tim Burton is well known for, however, it has a couple large flaws that weaken it drastically.
Barnabus Collins arrives in Maine and is unfortunate enough to have a witch fall in love with him. She curses his family and his loved ones turning him into a vampire. After spending roughly 200 years buried alive, Barnabus is freed and is now a fish out of water in 1972 Collinsport. Can he get his family to accept him and remove this curse that has plagued the Collins family for so long?
The look of the show has always had a unique charm, and the movie is no exception. Tim Burton has really focused on the colors and appearance of Collinswood to make it a memorable atmosphere. The soundtrack is really memorable as well. The makeup and costume only add to this fact. The only problem is that on occasion, the movie seems to hammer the audience that it is the 70s.
The acting is pretty decent, however, two actors are really the standouts in my opinion. Johnny Depp seems to be having fun. The script is a full of unique anachronistic dialog. In addition, Michelle Pfeiffer does a good job as Elizabeth Collins. It’s a tough role to fill and she does it with the grace this role deserves.
There are three huge flaws to this movie that weigh it down in a big way. The first is that Helena Bonham Carter’s part is absolutely useless. She adds nothing to the movie and it feels like she got the part because Tim Burton wanted to give his wife a job. The second is that the love story is not very well developed. Sadly, the love story gets a fairly minimal amount of the screen time. Perhaps if they cut Bonham Carter they could have added to give the love story a fuller part. Finally, the climax is really disappointing. Had the movie spent more time building up to it, the climax would have been stronger.
As a whole, “Dark Shadows” is a pretty decent movie. I don’t think it is really worth paying for a theater trip though. It’s really more of a rental movie or at the very least a matinee, if you were a fan of the show. It’s a fun movie that seems like it could have used another run through a script edit. Otherwise, it’s a nice taste of dark humor.