Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dark Shadows - Film Review

With a Tim Burton film you can expect three things: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and the element of strange.

The film begins in the 1700's with the Collins family starting a new life in America, creating a successful fishing business, building a family home (or rather Manor), and having a town built up around them - which is then named Collinsport - after the family. The young master of the Collinswood Manor, Barnabas Collins (Depp), is a rich playboy who makes the mistake of breaking the heart of a housemaid he once bedded. This housemaid happens to be a witch - and it is this act which causes her to curse not only Barnabas but all future generations of the family. If you thought you'd ever seen a possessive relationship - you've seen nothing yet. This crazy witch-bitch kills Barnabas' parents, his lover, and curses him to be a vampire and live an immortal pain that doesn't even end when he is buried underground for over 200 hundred years.

Barnabas is awoken after construction workers uncover the buried casket containing the hungry vamp. This is where the fun really begins. He awakes in the 70's, a time of hippies, Chevy's, and Alice Cooper (who has a cameo in the film).  Barnabas must learn to navigate in this new world, and soon sets out to help get his dysfunctional family back in order. Barnabas ends up falling for somebody who works for the family, again, describing her as having 'the most fertile birthing hips' that he's 'ever set eyes upon.' However soon his nemesis, the possessive witch-bitch, Angelique, discovers he is back in town and uses the most powerful persuasive tool she has - her breasts - to instigate the most epic sex scene in film history.  In keeping with his history of turning her down, and in true playboy fashion - when he is finished, he announces that is was most regrettable, and leaves. Which sets the witch-bitch in evil motion again, leading her on a vengeful mission to destroy him and his family.

This comedy certainly delivers, and Burton of course delivers, yet again, a film weirder than the audience entered the cinema believing it would be. The big fight scene toward the end is definitely over the top and when Barnabas' teenage ancestor reveals her secret - I was a little bit in shock at just how ridiculous it had gotten. The film regains its sense of dignity by the ending though, and finishes with the potential for a sequel.


  1. It has some real moments that made me laugh and had me enjoyed, but Burton starts to lose himself by the end, therefore, he lost me. Could have been so much better and the only reason it is as good as it is, is because of Depp’s insane performance. Good review Shelbs.

  2. Thank you Dan! ... I definitely know what you mean. Without giving spoilers away to those who are yet to see it - the teenage girls secret was ridiculous. Rounded up nicely at the end though.