20161115: Horror Review--Dark Shadows

Name: Dark Shadows (2012)
IMDb: link to Dark Shadows page

Genres: Horror   Country of origin: USA.

Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard, Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins, Helena Bonham Carter as Dr Julia Hoffman, Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis, Gulliver McGrath as David Collins, Chloe Grace Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard, Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winter, Christopher Lee as Clarney.

Directed by: Tim Burton.  Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay, story), John August (story).
Barnabas and friends

The Three Acts:

The initial tableaux:
1. Young Barnabas Collins and his family leave Liverpool, England for the Americas in 1752.  Young Angelique Bouchard tries to assert a connection with Barnabas, but her mother forbids it.  The class animosity is present from the beginning.

2. Years pass, and the Collins family prospers strongly in what would become Maine.  Angelique has followed them to the new world.  Angelique seduces Barnabas, but his family would never allow them to marry.  Angelique, now skilled in magic, kills Barnabas' parents for revenge.

3. Barnabas takes over guiding the family fortunes, and Angelique continues to try to be his significant other.  Barnabas becomes enamored of Josette, and rejects Angelique, despite their history.  Angelique takes revenge by killing Josette and turning Barnabas into a vampire.  She engineers his being buried in a strong coffin bound with thick chain.

4. We jump forward in time to 1972, when Barnabas is released by a construction company.

Delineation of conflicts:
Angelique, in one of several identities that she used over the previous 200 years, runs most of the fishing business in Collinsport.  The Collins family is in decline in terms of wealth and influence.

Barnabas contacts Elizabeth, and reveals who he is.  He uses hidden assets to reassert the wealth and influence of the Collins family.  Together they refurbish Collinwood, the family estate.  They recruit fishing captains and modernise the family's cannery.

Angelique tries again to unite with Barnabas, but he will not have it.  After that, the conflict between them resumes in deadly earnest.  Victoria, David's nanny, reminds Barnabas of Josette, which enrages Angelique all the more.

Resolution: Barnabas and Angelique take their feud to extremes.  Collinsport would never be the same.

One line summary: Film version of the 1960s horror soap opera.


Cinematography: 10/10 Beautiful.

Sound: 10/10 I could hear the dialog clearly, and I enjoyed the musical selections, including original music by Danny Elfman.

Acting: 10/10 I loved the cast and their performances.

Screenplay: 8/10 I liked the humour very much.  I thought the plot development moved right along, as it had to in order to cover so much material.  I wish Jonny Lee Miller had gotten more time as the next to insufferable Roger Collins, and that Dr Hoffman's arc might have had more development.

Final Rating: 9/10 I followed the original soap opera, which I enjoyed quite a bit.  This presentation was much better in all aspects: better actors, better script, better performances, better production values.  It was beautiful to watch, witty to listen to, and its ending was delightful.