Friday, July 8, 2016

Movie Review: "Dark Shadows" (2012)

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Movie"Dark Shadows"
Director: Tim Burton
Year: 2012
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

After Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) breaks the heart of a witch named Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), she uses her magic to turn him into a vampire. Captured and buried by the townspeople, Barnabas is imprisoned for nearly two centuries in a tomb. He is eventually freed in 1970's America where he returns to his family home to help his descendants return it to its former glory.

Directed by Tim Burton, "Dark Shadows" is an adaptation of a late 1960's soap opera of the same name. It stars Johnny Depp, of course, as Depp had become the go-to guy for Burton through this time period and had already starred in four of Burton's five films prior to this one. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, an 18th century aristocrat-turned-vampire. Collins was buried by an angry mob, only to be freed nearly 200 years later in the 1970's. As he returns to his estate, he finds his living descendants there, but the house and the family's business in pathetic disarray. He also discovers the woman who made him a vampire, Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green, has been living in the town since he was buried and has now been a prominent member of the community for centuries. Oh, and she's also a witch.

Much of "Dark Shadows" tries to draw humor from a fish-out-of-water scenario as Barnabas marvels at many modern technologies while describing them as dragons or hell-beasts. He wants to restore his family name to greatness and is going to need the help of his ancestors in achieving this task. Barnabas's new family consists of Elizabeth, played Michelle Pfeiffer, her daughter Carolyn, played by Chloƫ Grace Moretz, Caroline's brother Roger, played by Johnny Lee Miller, his son David, played by Gulliver McGrath, who has a psychiatrist named Dr. Hoffman, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and David's governess named Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote, who becomes the new-age love interest of Barnabas. Also starring are the fantastic Eva Green and Jackie Earle Haley. You would think with a cast like this and a capable enough director in his wheelhouse, there might be some semblance of a good film in amongst the slog material, but you'd be dead wrong (no pun intended). No one does a great job in their roles and a few performances are down right insufferable, and we're looking at you, Chloƫ. None of the characters ever feel like they belong together or have decent chemistry with one another, they all feel like they are giving stiff as a board performances, which makes it all the more weird when we learned Michelle Pfeiffer actually asked to be part of this project. Boy, it sure doesn't show. Depp putters around looking like a vampire Jack Sparrow with his horrid British accent and a much more emo disposition in one of if not the worst performances of his career.

"Dark Shadows" is supposedly meant to be a comedy, but despite its attempts at humor, it is not funny once, not any how, not any way. We honestly didn't muster so much as a chuckle in its almost 2 hour run time. It's also intended to be at least partially a horror film, but it is far too tame and dull to be horrific, unless you count how horrified we felt for all of the actors involved. The only thing scary about this movie is its writing and its pacing. You would think a film that combines comedy with fatastical horror would be right up Tim Burton's twisted alley, especially when you consider his catalog of past works, including the likes of "Beetlejuice" and "Corpse Bride." Again, you'd be wrong. Somehow, Burton wholly and massively drops the ball here and winds up with the worst movie of his entire career. Skip "Dark Shadows" at all costs. It's a very tedious, very draining crapfest that's an absolute, sheer misery to sit through, even in the pursuit of watching all of Burton's endeavors.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 37%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "Total Recall"


  1. I didn't think this movie was terrible, but I didn't see the point of taking such a great cast and putting them in such a mediocre movie :\

    1. We're glad you liked it more than we did, we just sat with out mouths hanging open to see how far some of these actors have come to do a project like this! More like shocked, really. It really was a waste of a great cast!