Archive for May 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)

May 14, 2012

Dark Shadows  (2012)  viewed in theater May 11, 2012


General Comments

The Good:  Visually, this is a great film.  Collinswood, in particular, was just splendid, both in its decayed and refurbished state.  Also, the cast performed well — given the material.  But that leads to . . .

The Bad:  The cast had to deal with a poor script.  To be sure, Dark Shadows does have a respectable plot;  it’s just hard to find, buried as it is under a load of silly gags and special effects.

Now, I have nothing against humor or FX per se;  the problem with the DS movie is the misuse of both.  The humor relies heavily on fish-out-of-water gags as Barnabas strives to adjust to the twentieth century, and the gags are often inappropriate.  For example, Barn attacks a television set in an effort to force out the miniature human he thinks is inside.  The problem is that the Collins vampire has been living and interacting with his modern family for quite some time by now.  Surely he has had ample opportunity to learn about modern technology?  Maybe he doesn’t fully understand it all, but he certainly should be aware that there is no ‘tiny songstress” inside a magic box.  The scene make Barnabas seem to be a fool, when he is, in fact, an intelligent being.

And the FX?  In some cases, downright ridiculous.  Whoever thought that airborne sex scene with Barn and Angelique was a good idea?  Ditto for the final confrontation at Collinswood — the talking pictures were ripped off from the Harry Potter series, and Angie’s cracking porcelain skin from Death Becomes Her.  

Great Moments

Not a whole lot, really.  The whole leap-from-widow’s- hill business was pretty impressive, but it would have worked better if we had a bit more background.  Without being able to know Josette and Barnabas very well at this point, it’s hard to feel a connection with the characters.  Perhaps they should have eliminated some of the silly gags and given us more time with Josette and Barn’s romance, shown us how Angelique forced Josette into suicide, and so on.  But I guess that wouldn’t have been comic enough.

Random Thoughts

It was nice to see cameos of four of the original cast, if that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment qualifies as such.  Good heavens, they spent more time with Christopher Lee and he wasn’t involved with the original at all. Yeah, I know.  Lee has more general box office appeal than Frid, Selby, Scott, and Parker.  Which is a shame, really. (no offense intended towards Lee, but if we’re going to have a cameo, it’s a little insulting to give an actor with no connection to the o.s. a speaking part, but not to the original cast.)

Looks like they’ve set things up for a sequel, what with Julia coming back to life, Carolyn  revealed as a werewolf (that was a little OTT there), and mentions of Elizabeth’s absent husband.  Not sure how I feel about that — could be an improvement, but, I fear, it would simply be MOS.

So, a werewolf daughter, a son who sees dead people, and a vampire cousin.  With the jocular tone this seems more like the Munsters than the Collins family.


2 out of 5.  Not a total disaster, but not very good, either.  I won’t be buying the DVD.

written on May 14, 2012