Dark Shadows (2012) – Movie Review

Dark Shadows is a comedy fantasy film based on the popular 1966–1971 gothic soap opera of the same name.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Johnny Depp in "Dark Shadows"
Johnny Depp in "Dark Shadows"

Joshua Collins (Ivan Kaye) and Naomi Collins (Susanna Cappellaro) sail from Liverpool, England to North America in 1972 to start a fishing business in Collinsport, Maine. Their son, Barnabas (Johnny Depp) is a playboy and the master of Collinwood Manor.

When Barnabas breaks the heart of a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), the witch then uses witchery to kill his parents and curses his family including his lovers. Josette (Bella Heathcote) is Barnabas’ last lover and she leaps to her death from a nearby cliff. Angelique then curses Barnabas to turn into a vampire before burying him alive in a chained-coffin.

200 year later, Barnabas is freed from his coffin by a group of construction workers, who then sucks their blood and killing them. Barnabas makes his way back to Collinwood Manor only to find the mansion in total ruin. The manor is occupied by Barnabas’ dysfunctional descendants led by the Collins family matriarch, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer). Elizabeth has a rebellious daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloë Moretz) who likes to touch herself. David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) is Elizabeth’s 10-year-old nephew who claims he sees the ghost of Josette occasionally though no one believes him. That’s when Elizabeth hires Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), a psychiatrist to treat David.

Barnabas tries to rebuild the family fishing business when he learns the town is no longer under their control.

When Angelique discovers Barnabas’ escape, she plots to continue her avenging whilst tries to win him back. In the process, Angelique seduces Barnabas and they end up wrecking Angelique’s entire office in a tryst. After Barnabas tells Angelique he never loves her, Angelique once again locks up Barnabas in a coffin. She then creates a little accident in Collins factory to cause a fire which eventually burns down their fishing business.

In a fight between the witch Angelique and the Collins, we discovers Angelique has summoned a werewolf to turn Carolyn into a werewolf. But, the fight eventually ends when Josette’s ghost unleashes a powerful shriek which gives a huge blow to Angelique as she cracks like how a glass cracks.

Overall, Dark Shadows is gothic, entertaining and fun but that’s about it. Tim Burton’s idea to turn the classic soap opera into a comedy has its limit. Although the main cast excel in their acting, the storyline is somehow too weak and at times, characters like Helena Bonham Carter’s Dr. Julia Hoffman doesn’t fit into the film nor is necessary. Perhaps, this is one of the remakes that should be left in the dark shadows.

  • 6 out of 10
  • No doubt it’s fun and entertaining but even if you’re a fan of Tim Burton, you’ll still be disappointed at this flick
  • Not exactly mid-credits scene, but before the ending, Dr. Julia Hoffman is shown awaken as a vampire.

Dark Shadows (2012) Trailer

Dark Shadows is a gothic comedy by Tim Burton about an imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, who is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dark Shadows opens on May 11, 2012.

Alice in Wonderland (2010) Teaser Trailer

Alice in Wonderland is a Tim Burton’s movie based on a novel about the adventures of a young girl, Alice, who falls into a magical world full of strange characters and darkness behind every corner. Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway, Michael Sheen, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Alice in Wonderland opens on March 5, 2010.

9 (2009) Trailer

9 is an animated film produced by Tim Burton about a post-apocalyptic nightmare in which all of humanity is threatened. 9 will be released on September 9, 2009.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) – Movie Review

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical of the same name. The film stars Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, while Helena Bonham Carter stars as Mrs. Lovett. Directed by Tim Burton, the movie won the 65th Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Actor (Comedy or Musical).

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) is a famous barber and has a beautiful wife, Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). Everything is bed of roses for Barker until the appearance of Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman, who is famous for his role as professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter movies) who lusts for Barker’s beautiful wife. As a result, Barker is sentenced to a life of hard labor in Australia by Judge Turpin so that Turpin can get a hand on Lucy.

After being rescued at sea by sailor Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower), Bejamin Barker returns to London as Sweeney Todd. He is told by Mrs. Lovett that his wife has poisoned herself and his daughter has become the ward of the villainous Judge. Thereafter, Todd suggests to Mrs. Lovett to let him rent the room above Mrs. Lovett’s meat-pie emporium which sells “the worst pies in London”. Since she recognizes him, she takes him in and returns his set of silver razors while he vows to take revenge upon those who have destroyed his life and family.

Meanwhile, Anthony catches glimpse of and falls in love with Johanna, the barber’s daughter, at a window of the Judge’s home. Judge Turpin catches him glaring at his ward, so he invites Anthony into his home and has Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall), his brutal henchman, beats him and warns him to stay away.

Todd and Lovett go to the market and see Tobias Ragg (Edward Sanders) who advertises a product called Pirelli’s Miracle Hair-Growth Elixir. After exposing Pirelli’s Miracle Hair-Growth Elixir as merely piss mixes with ink, Todd challenges him to a shaving contest with his silver razors against £5 that he can shave a man faster and better. With Beadle Bamford judging the contest, Todd wins handsdown even though he starts shaving a lot later than Pirelli. Bramford congratulates him and promises to pay him a visit before the week is out.

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, looking at his shiny silver razor and promises toexact his revenge
Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, looking at his shiny silver razor and promises to exact his revenge

Todd is impatiently waiting for the Bamford’s visit when suddenly Anthony, the sailor pays him a visit, telling that he’s met a girl he wants to rescue. Todd and Mrs. Lovett figure out that this is Johanna, and Mrs. Lovett tells him to bring the girl to the shop. After Anthony leaves, and Mrs. Lovett attempts to soothe Todd’s impatience, encouraging him to enjoy the planning and execution of the revenge. Suddenly, Todd spots Pirelli in the street coming to his shop. Todd tells Mrs. Lovett to keep Tobias, Pirelli’s young mistreated assistant, downstairs while he deals with the Italian upstairs. Pirelli reveals himself to be an Englishman named David Conner who as a boy once worked in Todd’s shop – he has recognized him as Benjamin Barker. When he attempts to blackmail him for half of his earnings forever, Barker has no doubt but to beat up Pirelli to unconsciousness and finishes him off by cutting his throat with his razor.

Turpin decides to marry the 15-year-old Johanna after watching Johanna throw her house key to Anthony, but is disappointed to find that she is not keen at all. Bamford suggests that Turpin visit Todd for a shave to make himself more presentable. When Turpin arrives on Fleet Street, Todd begins to give Turpin a shave and is about to slit his throat when Anthony bursts in to the shop, shouting that Johanna has agreed to escape with him that evening before noticing Judge Turpin in the chair. Turpin leaves in a rage, vowing also never to return to the shop upon seeing “what company Todd keeps”.

The loss of his chance for revenge pushes Todd over the edge into a mad, violent epiphany in which, between bouts of despair over the loss of his wife and daughter, he states that all men deserve to die either as punishment or relief and decides to kill them indiscriminately, vowing to eventually kill Judge Turpin as well. Todd goes on singing, “There’s a whole in the world like a great black pit, and the vermin of the world inhabit it, and its morals aren’t worth what a pin can spit…”

Later, they figure out what to do with Pirelli’s body. Todd is slow to catch on as she begins to suggest they use the body as meat for her pies (as regular meat is expensive). Upon catching her drift, Todd is immediately excited by the idea. Todd assists this enterprise by creating a mechanism enabling his barber’s chair to empty into a chute allowing bodies to fall into the basement bakehouse in the shop below.

Judge Turpin returns home to find Johanna packing to leave. Enraged by her perceived ingratitude and his own frustrated lust, rather than allow her to escape he has her taken to new lodgings. Anthony sees this and tries to follow on foot, but loses her. Meanwhile, the meat pie shop prospers fantastically, the customers clueless as to the nature of Mrs. Lovett’s true recipe. Customers fascinated by the pies stop upstairs for a shave, and end up getting their throats slit. With business booming, Mrs. Lovett confesses her desire to marry Todd and tell him to let go of the past. Anthony bursts into the shop, interrupting this intimate moment to tell Todd that he has found Johanna, locked in Fogg’s asylum. Todd tells Anthony to disguise himself as a wigmaker’s apprentice in order to gain admission to the asylum and rescue Johanna. Meanwhile, Todd sends Tobias to Turpin with a letter describing Anthony’s plan to steal Johanna, so as to lure the Judge to his shop that night.

Tobias returns to Mrs. Lovett after delivering the note, and hints to her his suspicions about Mr. Todd’s doings in the shop above, vowing to protect her from him during what becomes a moment of mother-and-child affection. To distract him, Mrs. Lovett pulls out Pirelli’s purse and gives him a penny to go buy some candy, but Tobias recognizes the purse as Pirelli’s and wants to go to the police immediately. She then tricks him downstairs by offering to finally show him the bakehouse, before locking him in as he eats a meat pie. She goes to get Todd, alerting him of Tobias’ knowledge of their plans. Beadle Bamford surprises them downstairs – he has arrived on neighborhood complaints to investigate the foul smell which comes from the shop at night, and requests to see the bakehouse. Todd persuades him into coming upstairs first, and kills the Beadle by slashing his throat. Meanwhile, down in the bakehouse, Tobias discovers what the pies are made of, when he finds a portion of a toe in one pie. He becomes hysterical when the Beadle’s body drops from the ceiling, covered in blood. Todd and Mrs. Lovett search for him but are unable to find him because he has escaped into the sewers.

Anthony and Johanna return to Todd’s shop to find it empty. Reassuring her that he will return in half an hour to take her away, Anthony leaves Johanna to hire a coach. Disguised in men’s clothing, Johanna walks around Todd’s but panics and hides in a trunk when a crazed beggar woman (seen throughout the film) enters, having followed the Beadle to warn him of the “witch” downstairs. Todd returns to the shop and angrily inquire why the beggar woman is up in his place, who in return tells him that Mrs. Lovett is evil and then claims to recognize him. Upon hearing the Judge coming, Todd panics and swiftly cuts her throat so as to finally get his chance to take his revenge on the judge. Todd convinces Turpin that Johanna has seen the “error of her ways” and waits eagerly for him below in Mrs. Lovett’s. Setting him at ease, he sets Turpin in the shaving chair and reveals his true identity as Benjamin Barker before he viciously stab Turpin’s neck with the blunt end of the razor, finishing him off with a slash to the throat. After killing Turpin, he sits calmly reflecting, covered in blood, before realizing Johanna is hiding in the steamer trunk. He drags her out and prepares to kill her (not knowing her true identity as she is disguised as a young sailor), but is distracted by a scream from Mrs. Lovett and tells Johanna to forget his face before vanishing out the door.

Mrs. Lovett screams as Turpin is grabbing her skirt with the last of his strength. He soon stops and dies. As Mrs. Lovett notices the body of the beggar woman and, recognizing her, she drags the body towards the furnace until Todd tells her to stop. Todd instructs her to open the furnace while he picks up the bodies, but the open door casts a shaft of light on the beggar woman’s face and he recognizes her as his wife, whom he had presumed dead. Todd kneels next to her in shock and petrified despair at what he has done, as well as the fact that Lovett lied to him. Initially she denies lying, telling him that she had only said Lucy took poison, not that she died. Later on, Mrs. Lovett admits that she didn’t inform Todd of this last detail because she is in love with him and would make him a better wife. Todd ostensibly brightens, coaxing the frightened Mrs. Lovett to dance with him, telling her that one mustn’t dwell on the past and that “what’s dead is dead” and then suddenly throws her into the open furnace. She cries and screams awfully before burning to death seconds later. He returns to his wife’s side, holding her dreamily in his arms. Out of a sudden Tobias climbs out of the sewer grate and slowly creeps up behind him before picking up the razor and slits Todd’s throat and the movie ends with Todd’s body supine in a spreading pool of blood with his dead wife in his arms.

Yes, the movie is a musical-based comedy and yes, the movie did not advertise as being musical. And the fact that the film has won the Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy genre and Johnny Depp has won the Best Actor (Comedy or Musical) in the Golden Globe for his performance as Sweeney Todd reminds you that every Tim Burton’s film with Johnny Depp in it is something not to be missed.

My ratings: 8 out of 10. Ar eally wonderful musical comedy. Everyone sings well albeit the hilarious lyrics. Just love it.