Dark Shadows – USA, 2012

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Dark Shadows is a 2012 American horror comedy film based on the 1966–1971 gothic horror soap opera of the same name.

The film was directed by Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire who was imprisoned in a coffin but is unearthed in 1972 and makes his way back to his mansion now inhabited by his dysfunctional descendants.

He soon runs into trouble revitalising the family’s canned fish business, as his jealous ex-flame and imprisoner Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green, runs the rival company. Michelle Pfeiffer also stars as his cousin Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the reclusive matriarch of the Collins family. Rock star Alice Cooper has a cameo role.

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The film was a moderate box office success with takings of $89,127,149, and received mixed to negative reviews from critics, many of whom praised its visual style, but felt it lacked a focused or substantial plot and developed characters.

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In 1760, the Collins family migrates to America from Liverpool and sets up a fishing port in Maine, naming it Collinsport. 14 years later, the son, Barnabas (Johnny Depp), has an affair with a maid, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who is a witch infatuated with him since childhood.

When he tells her he doesn’t love or want her, Angelique kills his parents. Barnabas then falls in love with Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote). In a fit of jealousy, Angelique bewitches Josette into leaping from a cliff to her death. Barnabas leaps after her in grief, but he survives because Angelique turns him into an immortal vampire. She rouses a mob to capture and bury Barnabas alive in a chained coffin in the woods and curses his family.

196 years later, in the year 1972, construction workers accidentally free Barnabas from his coffin, who reluctantly slakes his two-century thirst by feeding on and killing his rescuers. He makes his way back to his manor to find it inhabited by his dysfunctional descendants and their servants—the family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer); her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller); her 15-year-old daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz); Roger’s 10-year-old son David (Gulliver McGrath); Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), David’s psychiatrist; Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley), the manor’s caretaker; and Victoria Winters (Heathcote), David’s newly-hired governess and Josette’s reincarnation.

Upon convincing Elizabeth of his identity by revealing a secret treasure room behind the fireplace, Barnabas is allowed to stay under the condition that he never reveal either the room or the fact that he is a vampire to the rest of the family…

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One Comment on “Dark Shadows – USA, 2012”

  1. Never caught the original series so I think it might be wasted on me but I thought beyond Depp’s archaic witticisms it was all fluff and nonsense, total jiggery-pot-pourri.

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