For those of you, like myself, who aren’t familiar with the television series ‘Dark Shadows’ which ran from 1966-1971, here are the film’s cliff notes…
The year…1750 (give or take)
A wealthy young man named Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) gets it on with his maid, Angelique (Eva Green) who just happens to be a witch…She feels the love…He…not so much. Witch gets pissed…Turns Barnabus into a vampire, locks him in a coffin, which she then buries deep in the ground.
Still not satisfied, Angelique kills Barnabus’s one true love, as well as his parents, and then, she spends the next two centuries destroying the rest of his family. This is one witch with major anger issues.
Now, let’s fast forward to 1972. For those of you, too lazy to do the math…two hundred years have past….Thanks to a group of construction workers, Barnabas is released from his coffin. He thanks the workers by eating them…After quenching his appetite, Barnabus makes his way back home…But his super sized mansion known as Collingswood, is not exactly as he remembers.
The once grandly estate is now dilapated filled with old furniture in need of a good dusting, a dirty chandelier and…the Collins descendents…who are in no particular order…
Matariarch, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer)...her rebellious teenage daughter, Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz), Roger, (Jonny Lee Miller), Lizzie’s bum of a brother, his precocious 10 year old son, David (Gully McGrath) who has conversations with his dead mother.
This unhappy little group also shares their home with victoria, the nanny (Bella Heathcote) who happens to look exactly like Barnabas’s dead soul mate, a caretaker, Willie (Jackie Earle Haley) and a live in psychiatrist, Dr. Julie Hoffman (the fantastic Helena Bonham Carter).
Okay, so Barnabus arrives home, meets the clan, shares his secret identity with Elizabeth and gets to work restoring the family to its former glory.
Of course along the way, he must deal with televisions, lava lamps, women doctors, mini skirts, pot smoking hippies, and everything else that was part of the 70’s culture…including a Alice Cooper and a happening.
Oh, there’s one other small thing…Angelica, the love sick witch, is not only alive and well and running the town of Collinsport, but she still has the hots for Barnabus and will do everything and anything to make him hers.
‘Dark Shadows’ directed by Tim Burton and written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer) is a fun, campy and visually beautiful film.
Does it have some problems?...Yes…I felt Johnny Depp’s performance was one note and at times, the film felt stuck between two or three different genres. But having said that, I still enjoyed it and gave it 3 1/2 bagels out of 5.
John, on the other hand…did not share my opinion. Check out our video to see his throughts.
‘Dark Shadows’ opens in theatres Friday, May 11, 2012.
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