Tim Burton + Soap = Mildy Amusing Camp

Dark Shadows is the 8th and latest teaming of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  It is based on a soap opera of the same name that aired from 1966-1971. Tim Burton took the franchise and turned it into a comedy often dealing with Barnabas Collins’ adjustment to the 70’s from the 18th century that he was familiar with.

We start off seeing Barnabas as a child and his family’s movie to America. Then we see him in his normal everyday life in the 18th century. He has an affair with a woman named Angelique who turns out to be a witch. She then curses his family name, kills his parents, the love of his life, and turns Barnabas into a vampire. After being buried alive for nearly 200 years he is found and released in 1972. He finds the Collins’ family home and vows to return the family to their former glory, but Angelique runs the town and isn’t going to let Barnabas reestablish his family so easily.


  • Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins is entertaining and funny. He did fairly well with what was quite a weak script.
  • The climax of the film was very Beetlejuice-esque, so it’s less scary that script writer Seth Grahame-Smith is writing the proposed Beetlejuice sequel.
  • Some of the living cast members from the Dark Shadows TV series made cameos in the film.


  • It just wasn’t very interesting. It was nearly 2 hours of things happening, but I found it hard to care about what was happening onscreen.
  • The ending for Chloe Grace Moretz’s character. It almost ruined the entire movie.
  • The ending of the movie in general. It’ll definitely satisfy the goth desire for eternal dead love and kind of beats Twilight at its own game, but it’s pretty lame.

Dark Shadows isn’t awful. It has some funny moments and Tim Burton’s vibrant visual style, but it lacks substance. I enjoyed the climax’s visual and thematic  appeal, but then it turned into something that reminded me of a Twilight movie, or at least someone trying to cash in on the current vampire/paranormal craze. Would this movie have been made if Twilight wasn’t such a huge success? I highly doubt it. The attempt didn’t even really pay off as Dark Shadows suffered a poor opening weekend. This is more for fans of Burton/Depp collaborations than it is for fans of the Dark Shadows series.

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