Dark Shadows

17 May

Synopsis:  Tim Burton directs Johnny Depp who plays Barnabus Collins  in this quasi-spoof/reboot of the 60’s Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. In Collinsport, Maine, in the 1760’s,  Barnabus Collins is imprisoned by Angelique a spurned but beautiful witch, who wants his love. In revenge she turns him into a Vampire and locks him in a coffin until he is accidentally released in 1972 and returns to his home, and dysfunctional family descendants. He comes to terms with having to save his family name and the family business from Angelique who has spent the last 200 years trying to destroy the Collins family name and fortune.

Cast:

Johnny Depp portrays Barnabus Collins

Eva Green portrays vengeful witch Angelique Bouchard

Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Elizabeth Collins Stoddard

Helena Bonham Carter portrays Dr. Julia Hoffman

Jackie Earle Haley plays Willie Loomis, the manor’s caretaker.

Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins, Elizabeth’s “ne’er-do-well” brother.

Gulliver McGrath as David Collins, Roger’s “precocious” 10-year-old son

Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters/Maggie Evans, David’s governess and Barnabas’ love interest, she also plays the role of Josette Du Pres. Victoria and Maggie Evans’ roles, separate in the series, were combined in the film.

Chloe Grace Moretz as Carolyn, Elizabeth’s rebellious teenage daughter.

Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson, the manor’s elderly maid.

Christopher Lee as Silas Clarney, a “king of the fishermen who spends a lot of time in the local pub, The Blue Whale.”

Alice Cooper as himself.

Ivan Kaye as Joshua Collins, the father of Barnabas Collins.

Susanna Cappellero as Naomi Collins, the mother of Barnabas Collins.

William Hope as Sheriff Bill of Collinsport

Review: You would think that the one – two punch of a Burton/Depp collaboration would whet anyone’s appetite to spend their hard earned cash on seeing this film.  Tim Burton is arguably one of the finest directors of Gothic pieces, set design and storytelling, unfortunately this is one of his lesser efforts. Depp’s take on Barnabus Collins is as an eccentric a performance as we have come to expect from Depp, that said, this fish out of water story really loses steam quickly. Angelique is one bad witch and Eva Green does an admirable job up against the eccentricities of Depp’s Barnabus.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard portrays the family matriarch and really has little to do in this role. You can see her dysfunction as the Collins Estate is falling apart and she keeps a hired live-in psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman. The rest of her family includes a rebellious, provocative daughter Carolyn, Elizabeth’s brother Rodger an indifferent father to his son David,who has delusions that he can speak to his dead mother, Doctor Hoffman an alcoholic psychiatrist who is payed unsuccessfully to help David overcome his delusion and also several eccentric servants that work at the Collinswood mansion.

Rocker Alice Cooper has a cameo, Depp as Barnabus Collins refers to Cooper as the “ugliest woman he has ever seen”. Also Christopher Lee appears in the film along with Helena Bonham Carter and an assortment of character actors doing their best to make this campy reboot better than it actual turns out to be.

There are a few joys in this film mostly by Depp who has the best lines in the film and his portrayal is worth a look see. On the whole I would wait to rent this on DVD after all even a bad Burton film isn’t all that bad.

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