Dark Shadows: Dead on arrival

I have vague memories of the Dark Shadows television series growing up and caught a few of the black and white episodes on the SciFi Channel (later rebranded Syfy Channel). I remember the Gothic soap opera as moody, dark, atmospheric and a little over the top. The 200 year-old vampire Barnabas Collins, played masterfully by Jonathan Frid, was a larger than life character who consumed every scene. All in all the show an interesting watch.

What the hell was that movie?!!

The movie in question is 2012’s Dark Shadows directed by goth godfather Tim Burton and his best bud Johnny Depp. But that was four years ago, why are you only now writing a review? Well, I missed it when it first came out – the trailer did not look interesting – but I caught up on it recently. And guess what – it was even worse than I thought it would be.

Take me vampire boy!


Eva Green (Casino Royale, Penny Dreadful) is sexy as witch Angelique Bouchard. The costuming is cool and some of the effects are okay. That is all.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, they’re altogether ooky…


Where to start, where to start? Dark Shadows is a horror comedy but it achieves none of these. It’s not scary – Depp is silly as the fish-out-of-water Collins and the only thing terrifying is his cringe worthy performance. It’s not funny – you would hear more laughs in a graveyard (pun intended). Michelle Pfieffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller and Chlo├ź Grace Moretz are all terribly wasted. The action is bad, the forced romance is hard to watch and the 113 minutes might as well be an eternity.


Burton has made great movies. Depp has given great performances. This is a black mark on both their careers.

RATING: Dark Shadows gets 1 insufferably undead mango out of 4.

For a much better use of Eva Green’s talents you can check out my review of 300: Rise of an Empire here.


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