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‘Dark Shadows’ is a bloody bore



Genre: , , , ,
Starring: , , , , , ,
Directed By:
MPAA Rating:
Release Date: May 11, 2012
Length: 113 minutes




Total Score
5.8/ 10



Some moments are very funny.


The film goes on for too long and the story takes too long to develop.

Bottom Line

Who knew a bloodbath could be such a bore?

Posted May 9, 2012 by

Full Review

’Tis the ‘season of the witch.’ The spooky Donovan track appears in the trailer for the animated flick ParaNorman, and it’s in one scene in Dark Shadows, the new Tim Burton movie that’s based on the ’60s Gothic soap opera. Yes, with the anticipated release of these two films (ParaNorman arrives August 17), it’s going to be the summer of the witch.

Burton’s film, which opens Friday, has plenty going for it—including a strong supporting cast, a kitschy retro vibe and a great 1970s soundtrack. And, like any flick by the veteran American director, it stars Johnny Depp. Here, Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a pasty white 200-year vampire who’s been locked away in a coffin for the past century and a half thanks to a curse placed on him by the spurned witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). For the past two centuries, Angelique has had a thing for Barnabas, but he continually invokes her wrath because he always seems to fancy some other woman.

After a bulldozer inadvertently dislodges his coffin and sets him free, Barnabas returns to his family’s enormous mansion, which is currently inhabited by a much younger generation of the Collins clan including Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her brother Roger (Johnny Lee Miller) as well as their respective children Carolyn (Chloe Moretz) and David (Gulliver McGrath). Elizabeth picks up on the fact that Barnabas is a vampire but conceals that fact from the house’s other inhabitants, including the underutilized live-in psychologist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Burton regular Helena Bonham Carter) and caretaker Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley).

The film’s 113-minute running time shouldn’t be an issue, but the story here takes too long to develop. The film’s funniest moments are the ones in which Barnabas shows his age. He’s shocked to hear that people no longer travel by horse, television leaves him mystified and he recites the lyrics to Steve Miller’s The Joker with complete reverence. When Carolyn tells him that he must get Alice Cooper to play the “ball” he throws, Barnabas describes the shock rocker as “ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.” The film could have used more moments like these.

The slow-developing storyline really begins to unravel near the conclusion, which finds Barnabas and Angelique facing off against each other and using their supernatural powers to their fullest extent. The serious tone of the smash-it-up end (which somehow ended up reminding us of Death Becomes Her) simply seems out of sync with the film’s campy humor. Who knew a bloodbath could be such a bore?


Sam is live-music -loving vegetarian communications professional with an entertainment, travel and tourism background. A restless soul, Sam believes in getting out there and doing things because you only go around once but knows she could benefit from a little more sleep. Give her a reason to see a movie, catch a concert or explore a new destination at [email protected].


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