Dark Shadows

There aren’t a lot of auteurs who can spin fairy tales and turn them into monstrously dark pieces of gothic horror fiction. However, Tim Burton is an exception to that rule, and he has a grasp on this particular form of storytelling unlike anyone else in the world. There is a reason why Tim Burton is so revered as a filmmaker, with films such as Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow, and Sweeney Todd under his belt. However, if there’s one film that doesn’t add to his phenomenal repertoire, but rather takes away from it, it’s Dark Shadows.

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The Movie Review

Barnabas is a wealthy man living in 1770s Collinsport, Maine. His downfall begins when he breaks the heart of Angelique Bouchard, a witch with immense power. As revenge, Angelique turns Barnabas into a vampire and traps him in a coffin for two centuries. When Barnabas is finally freed in 1972, he finds that his once-grand home, Collinwood Manor, has fallen into ruin. The remaining members of the Collins family are dysfunctional and struggling to get by.

Will Barnabas be able to restore his family’s reputation and take down Angelique once and for all?

Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” begins promisingly, but unfortunately, the film loses its momentum between comedy and horror. Based on a soap opera, the film struggles with tonal shifts. It begins with obvious humor as Johnny Depp’s character, Barnabas, wakes up after 200 years of being buried and tries to adjust to the modern world. However, it also contains grisly killings where Barnabas takes out innocent victims.

The film has a whole cast of characters, each with their own story, but none of them get enough time to develop. Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, and Christopher Lee are all wasted, and their characters’ stories feel rushed and underdeveloped.

Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows begins promisingly, but unfortunately, the film loses its momentum between comedy and horror. Based on a soap opera, the film struggles with tonal shifts. It begins with obvious humor as Johnny Depp’s character adjusts to the modern world. Yet it also contains grisly killings where Barnabas takes out innocent victims.

The main plot revolves around Eva Green’s character, Angelique, repeatedly asking Barnabas to be hers, and him repeatedly rejecting her, the film just does not know what to do.

In the same way, the film also has scenes that do not have any relevance to the plot, and they feel needlessly long and repetitive. By the end, the movie starts to feel like it is pulling things out of thin air to resolve the plot.

The Visuals

Director of Photography Bruno Delbonnel, who has worked on several acclaimed films such as Amélie and Inside Llewyn Davis, is responsible for the film’s striking visuals. Delbonnel has a talent for creating visually stunning films, and his work in Dark Shadows is no exception. His use of light and shadow, as well as his framing of shots, helps to create a visually stunning film that is a feast for the eyes.

The visuals are dark and moody, with an emphasis on shadows and silhouettes. The use of colors is also impressive, with deep, rich hues of red and blue often used to set the mood.

The Music

The original soundtrack of Dark Shadows is not Danny Elfmann’s best work, and yet, this man has somehow created a soundtrack better than what other composers could even dream of. It helps to set the mood and create a sense of nostalgia for the era in which the film is set. The original score by Elfman is simply excellent, with its haunting melodies and gothic themes adding to the film’s overall atmosphere.


Dark Shadows attempts to weave together the genres of horror and comedy but ultimately falls short of Tim Burton’s artistic prowess. Despite a visually stunning gothic aesthetic and an impressive soundtrack, the movie fails to deliver well-realized characters or cohesive storytelling.

None of the characters are developed enough to be truly compelling, and the film’s tonal shifts from humor to pointless scenes of violence feel out of place. It’s a shame that Dark Shadows doesn’t quite live up to Burton’s usual standards, as it shows moments of promise and has some impressive elements.

Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows is a Tim Burton's 2012 fantasy film that is based on a soap opera that aired between 1966 and 1971. Download it now.
5.5 Total Score
Dark Shadows Review Summary

Sound & Music
  • Visually stunning cinematography with Tim Burton's iconic gothic aesthetic
  • Excellent original soundtrack by Danny Elfman
  • Johnny Depp and Eva Green deliver strong performances
  • Lacks a cohesive storyline, with fragmented plot beats that feels disjointed
  • The tone of the movie is too twitchy
  • The supporting characters are underdeveloped, and the actors are simply wasted
  • Some comedy scenes feel needlessly long and repetitive
User Rating: 5 (1 vote)
Warner Bros. Pictures, Roadshow Entertainment
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Zain Bhatti

Zain Bhatti

Zain is an aspiring filmmaker who has invested thousands of hours of his life into understanding films and the way they are made. He has a passion for films, a love for cinematography, and adores a film that breaks the rules to bring something refreshing to the table!

Apart from films he also has a love for video games with immersive worlds and adores any piece of consumable media that he can analyze for countless hours.