Dark Shadows, 2012 {Movie Review}

I like Tim Burton’s work, in general. I especially like his collaborations with Johnny Depp. I like Chloë Grace Moretz, & I like Eva Green a lot! I also like horror comedies.
So of course when I started to see the promos of Dark Shadows I knew I had to see the film. It has so many things I liked, so watching it can’t go wrong, right? Wrong.
Dark Shadows is based on the late sixties gothic soap opera of the same name.
Barnabas Collins (played by Johnny Depp) is the heir to the Collins family business & fortune in the late 18th century. He’s in a a physical relationship with Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), but does not love her. He falls in love with the innocent Josette, but Angelique, in a jealous rage puts a spell on her that makes her throw herself off a cliff. Barnabas jumps too, but Angelique has turned him into a vampire before he hits the rocks. Later she tells the townspeople about him being a vampire, & he’s chained & buried alive in the forest.
Fast forward to 1972, when Barnabas is accidentally released. He finds the manor in ruins. The Collins family still lives there, so he sets out to restore the business, manor & family in general to it’s former glory.
The film is very visually striking. Tim Burton is of course obsessed with gothic makeup. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Elizabeth Collins, the strong matriarch, Chloë Moretz is plays her constantly sullen 15 year old daughter. And no Tim Burton film would be complete without Helena Bonham Carter, who plays the alcoholic psychiatrist Dr Hoffman. One thing I really loved about the film was the soundtrack- it features a lot of great songs from the early 70s by The Carpenters, The Moody Blues, Elton John, etc. Alice Cooper makes an appearance as himself (I seem to be seeing a lot of him recently), & it was pretty entertaining- “Ugliest Woman Ever!”. The background score by Danny Elfman fits in well.
One of the main things I really hated about the film was it’s depiction of two female characters, Josette & Angelique as the Virgin & the Whore. Angelique is authoritative & sexually confident, but depicted purely as a wicked witch & a scheming vamp, who Barnabas can repeatedly sleep with but never love. Josette on the other hand is very soft spoken & virginal, so she is the positive character & the love of Barnabas’ life. This misogynistic depiction of women was especially common in Hindi cinema back in the day but to see it in a recent work by a major director is just shameful. The only worthwhile parts are the ‘fish out of water’ type jokes with Barnabas struggling to understand popular culture of the 70s, & I’m not even sure if they’re worth your ticket money.
In summation, I really really wanted to like this film, but I couldn’t. Bleh.
I’m looking forward to Men In Black III, I do hope it’s good.
Rating ★★☆ ☆ ☆ (Two Stars)


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Magali Vaz

Magali Vaz

Founder, Blogger in Chief
I love tea, makeup, cats & travel (in no particular order, really). I founded this blog back in 2009 & I also make videos & vlogs on YouTube - come say hi! Twitter is usually the easiest way to get in touch with me - @magali_c
  • Shame that a movie in this day and age portrays women like that. However, is it possible it's because it's an adaptation of a show from an era when this was common? Just wondering. Not that keen on watching it any way…

  • I did consider that, but after a little bit of research it seems like the women in the original show were better formed characters & not so one dimensional (of course that was a tv show so there was more time for character development.)
    I think the most shameful fact is that this film was completely a product of Tim Burton's mind, with very little intervening from the studio. If, after that much creative freedom & such an amazing cast, this is the best he can come up with then I'm not sure if he deserves his reputation at all!

  • I'm not a Tom Burton fan because despite the beauty of the pictures and the uncommon atmosphere, I never really like the stories he tells and the way he tells them. I have not seen that film especially because I didn't understand the teaser! :o) But perhaps that showing the two  women as charicatures of the good girl and the evil woman is a way of being funny. All the characters seem to be charicatures by the way and the actors look as if they overact. Even the decoration looks superficial. I suppose Burton does it on purpose.   It is his style!