Thursday, 27 September 2012

Dark Shadows: DVD Review

Dark Shadows: DVD Review


Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Entertainment

The original Dark Shadow was a soapy series which ran from 1966 to 1971 and was a gothic soap opera around the Collins family, whose head is a 200 year old vampire. Taking in werewolves, vampires, time travel, parallel worlds and ghosts, it was a curio back then.

And really, when you consider its pedigree, it should come as no surprise that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp should reteam for an eighth time to take it on.

The film begins in Liverpool in 1760 with the Collins family relocating to North America to make their name. With riches, they set up Collinsport and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) grows up abroad. But when he scorns the love of a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) for another, he's cursed, turned into a vampire and buried for 200 years underground. 


Nearly 200 years later, Barnabas is accidentally awoken and returns to Collinsport to find the once great mansion in ruin, inhabited by relatives who don't care about the family name and finds the family fishing business is all but destroyed by competition from Angelique Bouchard's rival company.

So Collins sets about trying to recapture his former glory - as well as trying to win the heart of Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) who's the spitting image of Barnabas' first true love.


Dark Shadows is an odd curio; it's an absolutely natural fit for the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp partnership, bathed as it is in off kilter moments and Gothic sensibilities. From its darkly chilling opening, it screams Burton's work - from the overly brightened colours to the pale washed out landscapes, it's clearly a horror joint with a backdrop of family tragedy and quirky misfits.

And yet, it's lashed with so much campy comedy that it's never really one thing or the other.

It's once again Johnny Depp's performance which keeps this going; his culture shock comedy at being revived some 200 years later is a blast, referencing the best of the 1970s and also Nosferatu as he skulks around in the shadows as the music of the 70s blasts from the soundtrack.


All in all, while Dark Shadows is true to its roots and ends on the prospect of a sequel, it'll really need to get more of a definitive mix of campy comedy/ horror and Gothic for any future outings. It's not quite Addams Family sensibilities and humour either, but you can mark this one up as a slightly undercooked, overlong, curio and oddity which doesn't quite hit the mark.


Extras: Behind scenes piece



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