Dark Shadows was a soap opera that ran from 1966 – 1971, and at first it wasn’t anything special. It was your average run of the mill daytime drama, and it suffered with poor ratings and was almost canceled. Six months into production things started to get a little strange, when ghosts were introduced into the mix, and six months after that Barnabus Collins made his first appearance. Barnabus wasn’t your average daytime soap opera character, he was a vampire, and it was after his introduction that the series became a hit. Director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp both have cited the show as an inspiration, and thanks to their numerable collaborations in the past it should come as no surprise that they’ve teamed up to make a big screen version of the show.
Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) didn’t start life as a vampire. He was a young immigrant who came to America with his parents, and unfortunately broke the heart of a witch named Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). In her attempt to win him over Angelique kills Barnabus’ family, and when he still won’t be hers she kills his lover and turns him into a vampire so that he may be eternally tormented. To further his pain she turns the town folk against him, and they lock him in a coffin and bury him deep beneath the ground. Two hundred years later Barnabus finds himself freed, and he attempts to not only restore his families status and fortune, but get revenge on Angelique who has placed herself in a position of power within the community.
Dark Shadows is surprisingly not as dark as one would expect, considering the past collaborations of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. It’s also not as funny as the trailers would have you believe. The movie looks great, is well acted, and has an amazing soundtrack, but it really doesn’t have much of a story to it. The movie also runs slightly longer than it should, and by the end you are just ready for it to be over. The movie isn’t terrible, but it’s not incredible either.
You could definitely do worse than Dark Shadows, but you can do much better as well. This is the perfect type of movie to watch at home one night, and not one you need to rush out to see in theatres.