Tim Burton’s films have always been hit or miss with me. Edward Scissorhands—hit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—miss, Ed Wood—hit, Planet of the Apes—miss. I was hoping Dark Shadows would be a hit.
Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) is a promising captain of industry in the New World. When he rejects the love of a beautiful witch, Angelique (Eva Green), she turns him into a vampire and has him buried alive. Fast forward 200 years to 1972: The Collins family has been reduced to rabble, the family estate to rubble and the town of Collinsport is now controlled by Angie, who bears a striking resemblance to Barnabus’s old nemesis.
When a construction project unearths Barnabus, he returns to his family to find a dejected mother, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), a rebellious teenager, Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz), Elizabeth’s sleazy brother, Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), and Roger’s troubled son, David (Gulliver McGrath). David has been traumatized by his mother’s death and is being treated by a live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), and comforted by the mysterious new governess, Victoria (Bella Heathcote). Barnabus becomes determined to remove his curse and restore his family’s reputation.
Yes, the film is appropriately camp with some laugh-out-loud moments. Unfortunately the movie is neither scary enough to be a thriller nor funny enough to be a comedy, so it waffles sadly between the two genres—much like a vampire floats between mortality and…never mind. I apologize for that. I didn’t watch the original TV show so I cannot speak to whether this is a fitting homage. But on its own it is, at best, a rental.
It's a 5.