Movie review: 'Dark Shadows'

Frequent collaborators Tim Burton and Johnny Depp give the 1960s-‘70s supernatural soap opera a big-budget movie adaptation spiked with their signature oddball humor.
Oklahoman Published: May 11, 2012

Some vestiges of the Collins family remain in Collinsport, but Barnabas is dismayed to find that their grand estate has fallen into disrepair, just as their fishing business has fallen on hard times. He puts the boozy caretaker Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) in his thrall and reveals his vampiric nature to the clan's stalwart matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer).

But they decide to keep Barnabas' supernatural qualities a secret from the rest of the family, leaving Elizabeth's skirt-chasing, spendthrift brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz), Roger's grieving, ghost-seeing son David (Gully McGrath) and alcoholic live-in psychologist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) puzzling over the long-lost relative's anachronistic speech and bizarre reactions to cars, lava lamps and the TV set.

When Barnabas announces his plans to restore the family name, empire and mansion to its former glory, he learns he has stiff competition in the fishing industry from sexy and savvy businesswoman Angie, who is actually the well-preserved and still-testy Angelique in disguise. While Angie hopes to finally have Barnabas for her own, she is thwarted with the arrival of David's new nanny, Victoria, who bears a startlingly resemblance to Josette.

The other players

The film also features cameos from frequent Burton star Christopher Lee, rocker Alice Cooper and original “Dark Shadows” actors Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby and the late Jonathan Frid, who died last month.

While the movie navigates the constantly morphing tone, Burton and Grahame-Smith have considerably less success managing the unwieldy number of characters and storytelling possibilities from the long-running series. Depp does his usual excellent job embodying a charming, oddball rogue and Green eagerly gobbles up scenery as the wicked witch, but the movie doesn't invest enough time in the rest of the characters for their fine players to make significant impressions. The plot itself lacks focus and could stand a half-hour trim.

— Brandy McDonnell

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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more...
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‘Dark Shadows'

PG-131:53 3 stars

Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Jackie Earle Haley and Helena Bonham Carter. (Comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking)

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