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Top reviews from the United States
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Four of my favorite actors; Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter and Eva Green are in this movie and they are the reason I watched it for the first time. But I should start this review by saying I was very young when the original series was first broadcasted and I could only recall a scant amount of snippets of the original soap series but because of those memories I gave this movie a chance. A few years after having watched it I've read accounts online about how some hated this movie. There was a lot of criticism about the choice of actors and about the script and the acting. Personally I enjoyed this movie, though at the time I first watched this movie I had yet to order the original series on DVD which I had begun to do late last year. I can understand some of the criticisms of this movie after watching collections 1 through 8 of the original series so far, yet as a "stand alone", "Dark Shadows" is a fun and satirical movie and yes because of our current technology it does veer away from the low budget original (which I thoroughly love!!) and even though some didn't appreciate that, it makes sense that it would have to in order to condense portions of the storyline of some 200 plus episodes of the original series into an approx. two-hour long movie. No current actors could ever replace Fridd, Bennett, Edmonds, Moltke, Barrett, Crothers, Karlen, Scott, Hall or any of the other original actors and that really goes without saying but all in all this movie was fun to watch. I really enjoyed it!! I recommend this movie as a sort of "1rst cousin, twice removed" of the original series!!
This is one of my favorite movies! Before I watched this, I had not seen the Dark Shadows soap opera, but I knew about it. I have since watched quite a lot of the series.
The 1 or 2 star reviews that say it's not like the series are right, but the original Dark Shadows had lots of flaws. It's a good thing this does not feel like a soap opera.
The visuals are wonderful, as usual with a Tim Burton production. Johnny Depp is a very funny and very likeable Barnabus Collins. Eva Green is wonderful, as is Michelle Pfeiffer, and all other castings are very well done. This does follow similar storylines as the old series.
Very entertaining, good situational comedy, and beautifully done.
If you like Tim Burton stuff, you will probably like this too!
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2019
I was a big DS fan when I was a kid, so I was anxious to see this movie. But it leaves me with the same question many of Tim Burton's films leave me with. Is this supposed to be a comedy or a drama? It really isn't funny enough to be a comedy, and it is too "campy" to be a drama. I guess Burton really isn't my cup of tea, except for the original _Batman_ with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. That was a really good film, and Michael Keaton in that black turtleneck in the Batcave . . . be still, my heart. :-D
Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020
Dark Shadows was a 1970s cult classic TV show about the Collins family of Maine that included Barnabas Collins who was a vampire. Tim Burton made it into a dark comedy featuring Johnny Depp as Barnabas. It plays upon the dysfunctional Collins family and Barnabas attempting to adapt to the times.
The movie begins by laying out how all the people in the Collins family are eccentric. That means when Barnabas shows up he fits right in. The comedy comes from him trying to figure out the 1970s. For instance when he first returns he sees a McDonald’s sign and thinks the “M” stands for the demon Mephistopheles. Then he sees a car for the first time and thinks the headlights are the Devil come to take his soul. Instead it’s an American muscle car that just honks its horn at him for standing in the middle of the road.
The movie has the look of a typical Burton film with plenty of dark tones. Depp does a good job with the role and the out of place/out of time twist of Barnabas works. C
Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2019
This movie is campy fun - but I wish it would have picked a genre - comedy or horror?? Tim Burton has daddy issues...Johnny Depp has become a cliche of himself, but Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green and Helena Bonham-Carter turn in some fun performances here. Don't expect Oscar level material here, folks.
Some laughs and some WTF moments, some odd visuals, and a story interesting enough to keep you interested. Nothing special or outstanding, but worth a rental and a watch. Depp is definitely good at odd-ball characters, and brings it in this movie, just not at any outrageous level. If you pay extra attention you might get a couple extra laughs at things easily missed otherwise.
I rented this movie and tried to watch it several times over the evening. The darn thing just won't load completely. I could watch about 5 minutes and then there was a pause while the movie continued to load. What a pain in the butt. You pay for a 2 day rental and you can't even sit down and enjoy a movie without non stop frustration. I'm trying to contact Amazon and see if they will do anything about this. I can't be sure what the problem is. I do know I have an excellent internet connection with more than enough band width to watch a movie.
It’s fun, not for everyone I guess it’s a personal perspective that improves the humor I guess. I also thought ‘The Death of Stalin” was brilliant. This one isn’t brilliant but in my opinion they both provide a typically silent experience opened up in a ridiculous manner true to fact or true to human nature in so exaggerated fictional extreme. Either you’re going to like it or not but if you have a mind then you won’t mind experiencing either and maybe it’s worth a chuckle.
What we now expect from the equation 'Tim Burton + Gothic'. Lavishly produced and with excellent scenery and costumes - best viewed on a larger screen. In truth, the film wanders considerably in the middle, is overlong and purpose of the Michelle Pfeiffer part is unclear. But the film has two pluses. First, an effective enough finale. The second is Johnny Depp: always interesting to watch, with excellent timing and enunciation. The fourth star is down to him.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2012
If you're British, then chances are you've never heard of the American TV show Dark Shadows. It's presence in this country has never been great, and it's usually the domain of the real cult tv aficionados. The show was a soap opera in the 60's/70's set in a coastal fishing village in the state of Maine. With all the attendant character clashes and dramas of American daytime soaps.
Not an initial success at all, and seemingly doomed to cancellation, the producers went with a flippant suggestion: add a Vampire to the show. They created Barnabas Collins. Ancestor of some of the characters. A man cursed to be a vampire. A man who hates being undead. And who was buried - literally - for centuries till being released into the world once again.
The character was a sensation and a hit. And the show became one. It ran for years more. And since vampires were clearly popular, it's plots from then on mostly concerned the supernatural. All done on a rather cheap budget.
One of those shows that finds new generations of fans via reruns. Such as Director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp. Who both grew up on those. Barnabas Collins has long been a cherised role for the latter to play.
The film is set in the 70's. After an opening that fills us in on Barnabas and his backstory, it then begins with a governess coming to Collinwood. Home of the Collins family. A big old house built centuries before. The matriarch [Michelle Pfeiffer] is struggling to keep the place and her family going. The family business is in decline. Her husband is a wastrel. Her children are rebellious and may just have special abilities. The gardener and the live in therapist are drunks.
Then Barnabas is freed into the world. Can he get used to the 1970's? Can he restore the family to greatness and riches? And how will he cope when he finds that the woman who cursed him to this life is still alive and kicking?
Whereas the tv show played it all straight, albeit in soap opera style, the movie does open by giving the impression of being gothic horror. But once Barnabas is freed it shifts away from that style and goes more for fish out of water culture clash comedy. This combined with soap opera style character drama results in something that you will either like or hate. But you can't fail to admire all the period detail.
It does feel as if it has been cut down from something longer. Johnny Lee Miller's wastrel husband does get far too little to do. And certain revelations about one character do come far too late. Some of the comedy is pretty funny. Some doesn't quite hit the mark. Die-hard fans of the show may not find that style appealing.
So whilst it perhaps isn't quite the movie it could have been, and could have done with a sharper and more focused script, it's an original and pretty entertaining piece of cinema. And as with most films that divide opinion, it's one that's worth judging for yourself.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
The disc begins with several trailers. Which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.
The only extra is: The Collinses: every family has it's demons. A six minute long featurette about the main characters and the casting of those who play them. It's short but quite an entertaining watch.
There's also a flyer with a website address and code for you to obtain a digital copy of the movie that can be downloaded to various digital devices.
4.0 out of 5 starsGo on. Give it a second chance. It's actually pretty good.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2017
I watched this a couple of years ago on Sky Movies and didn't really get on with it to be honest. As the Dark Shadows TV show didn't (to my knowledge) air in the UK, the film left me a bit cold.
Fast forward to now, it was cheap and I needed to fill a hole in my Tim Burton collection. The repeated viewing was much much better; a far more enjoyable experience second time around. The disc extras are fair enough, but one thing you need to know is that the UV download extra expired ages ago.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2014
This film is almost excellent (4*). It comes incredibly close to it during the first two thirds but then unfortunately seems to take a nose dive during the last third. SPOILER. The 1st half of the movie is quirky beyond believe and full of fun and interesting characters. In the second half, however, the movie goes from witnessing all the trials and tribulations of an eccentric family with a vampire relative to a much more supernatural affair, which i personally don't/didn't like. It felt clumsy. The plot soon fizzles out too by this point and what was a promising adult black comedy digresses into a much more family friendly affair with little flavour. A promising start but a big disappointment by the end.