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Dark Shadows Movie Review

Reviewed by on May 11, 2012
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews Dark Shadows, the new Johnny Depp horror dramady movie.

By: Lynn Barker

When vampire Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is finally released from a buried coffin after 200 years, he finds his once wealthy family on its last legs. While working to rebuild, he has to deal with a teen rebel (Chloe Grace Moretz) and the gorgeous witch who cursed and buried him (Eva Green) while fighting an attraction to the family’s new governess (Bella Heathcote)..who looks just like his long lost love. Oh yeah, and he has to deal with waking up in the 1970’s. What’s a lava lamp anyway?

Barnabas with his familyBarnabas with his family


In the 1750’s Barnabas Collins is the very handsome, rich head of a shipping and seafood canning empire. He falls madly in love with beauty Josette DuPres (also played by Bella Heathcote) but witch Angelique, the lower class girl he dumps for her (Eva Green), turns him into a vampire, makes sure Josette goes off a cliff and buries him alive…well undead! Hey, hell hath no fury like a woman….dumped!

BarnabasBarnabas welcomes family to dinner


When construction workers dig up Barnabas’s coffin 200 years later, he chows down on a few then returns to the family homestead where beautiful family descendant Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer) is trying to cope with her sullen yet feisty teen daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz), her playboy brother and his 10-year-old son who sees ghosts, all while keeping the family out of the poor house. Barnabas discovers that he has no idea what a TV is and why girls are wearing such short skirts.

Johnny Depp as Barnabas with his scary nails!Johnny Depp as Barnabas with his scary nails!

Season of the Witch

She’s baaaack! Well, witchy, live forever Angelique is “Angie” now and she owns the town and runs the rival cannery. Barnabas still has a crazy hot attraction to her but he’s also met the spitting image of Josette, the Collins’ new homeschool teacher Victoria and is all ga-ga in love again. Will Angie put up with being dumped again? Not likely. Will Barnabas’s love life improve all while he puts his family back at the top of the local social register?

Chole as a sulking CarolynChole as a sulking Carolyn

Wrapping Up

Let’s face it, no actor can play weird, bizarre, quirky characters like Johnny Depp and his Barnabas is scary yet hot and sympathetic too.  Eva Green is a great witchy woman and all the other actors, including teen Chloe Moretz and pretty Aussie Bella Heathcote as Barnabas’ forever love do a great job in the movie. 

Problem is that you are jerked all over the place trying to figure out exactly what kind of film you are watching.  Is it a horror thriller?  It’s got vamp teeth and a lot of fake stage blood. Is it a moody romance? It has Johnny crushin’ on a gal who looks like his long lost love, while getting all excited about a reunion with Angelique. Is it a comedy kinda like the old TV show “The Addams Family” or “The Munsters”? According to the movie trailers it is. It’s got some really funny one-liners and makes the most out of the wacky 1970’s era clothes, gadgets etc.

Bella as Victoria WintersBella as Victoria Winters

Although the film is rated PG-13, be warned that there are some semi-gruesome vampire scenes and a silly, funny but kinda hot “love” scene. If you are okay with that, even if you are clueless about the 1970’s, you’ll still appreciate the humor that comes from an 18th century guy getting dumped suddenly into them. Although Johnny’s Barnabas looks pretty weird, he’s still hot and you might get into rooting for him and his reincarnated love to get back together….somehow.

Barnabas strolls with love Victoria (Bella Heathcote)Barnabas strolls with love Victoria (Bella Heathcote)

The film looks great with amazing and fun sets and many shots look like creepy yet beautiful paintings. Colleen Atwood’s costumes are just fabulous too.

Johnny with director Tim Burton on setJohnny with director Tim Burton on set

If you are a true Johnny fan, you’ll have to go see him create yet another larger than life character. Overall, although uneven in tone (funny, scary or romantic?), Dark Shadows is certainly entertaining. If we had a ½ star, I’d give it 3 and a half stars but as is it gets

Chloe, Eva, Johnny, Michelle and Bella at the premiere

Dark Shadows Movie Rating: 3

Bella as JosetteBella as Josette