Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

Director: Tim Burton

I remember when Tim Burton brought out the new Alice in Wonderland film a few years ago – the pre-watch excitement, then the gradual slide into mediocrity which climaxed with the final, excruciatingly lame dance sequence. My expectations for Burton’s latest adventure, Dark Shadows, were low.

Dark Shadows is based on a gothic soap opera which aired in the late 1960s. The story follows Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), who was turned into a vampire then buried in the ground in the 1770s by a jealous witch. In 1972, almost 200 years later, Barnabas is dug up again by construction workers. He returns to his estate, which was once a centre of power but over time has become neglected, now housing the few remaining Collins family members. After a suspicious reception from the 1970s Collins family, Barnabas convinces Elizabeth Collins (Michelle Pfeiffer) to join with him in restoring the Collins line to its former greatness. But Barnabas soon discovers that Angelique (Eva Green), the witch who cursed him, is still around and more powerful and desperate for sex than ever. Dark Shadows also features teen It-girl Chloe Grace Moretz as a moody teenager with her own secrets, Bella Heathcote as the charming governess who catches Barnabas’ eyes, and Helen Bonham Carter as a doctor with alcohol issues.

While the visual world of Dark Shadows is enchanting, the film remains one-dimensional. The rushed-through plot feels like it was filmed on autopilot. Perhaps I was waiting for that Edward Scissorhands edge that first drew me to Burton’s films? My fingers/scissors are crossed for next time.

– Loulou Callister-Baker
This article first appeared in Issue 13, 2012.
Posted 7:40pm Sunday 27th May 2012 by Loulou Callister-Baker.