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Dark Shadows (2012)

Film review: Dark Shadows (2012), directed by Tim Burton

Back in the late 1700s the Collins family move from England to Maine, and they lay down the foundations of a new fishing town, Collinsport. They become very rich, build a nice mansion and their son Barnabas (Johnny Depp) grows up without a care in the world. He has an affair with a maid – and witch, as it turns out – Angelique (Eva Green), who doesn’t take too kindly to being dumped in favour of the beautiful Josette (Bella Heathcote). Angelique murders Barnabas’s parents and curses Josette, making her jump off a cliff.

Barnabas is cursed to immortality as a vampire, and some villagers with pitchforks and torches later, he’s buried in a coffin deep underground. There, he bides his time for the next 196 years until 1972, when construction workers inadvertently release him.

The dysfunctional Collins family (Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloë Grace Moretz, with Jonny Lee Miller and Gully McGrath) are on the brink of financial ruin. Lucky for them, a very old relative wants to come to their aid.

Also starring Helena Bonham Carter as Dr Hoffman, Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis (or should that be “Groundskeeper Willie”?), Bella Heathcote – again – as governess Victoria Winters, Christopher Lee as Clarney, and Alice Cooper as himself.

Gothic comedy set in the early 1970s, directed by Tim Burton. Does it have Johnny Depp? Yes. Helena Bonham Carter? Sure does. It it funny? Indeed, it’s rather amusing. The point about the governess being somehow connected to Josette was interesting … but basically, this is just a fun film about an old vampire waking up in slightly more modern times, and the resulting culture clashes.

The teenage daughter is being a teenager, the governess is being uptight, the shrink could do with a shrink herself, a widower behaving badly, a grieving son, and a haughty bitch – with a creepy groundskeeper for good measure. It’s all terribly bizarre, but the cast is great and it’s a very enjoyable gothic funk romp.

3.7 out of 5 childbearing hips. I shudder to think what Barnabas would say about mine!


An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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