WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
Okay, I want to start off by saying, I don't know what all those critics are complaining about. Dark Shadows is by no means a bad film. Admittedly its got its fair share of flaws, but what film doesn't. I can certainly think of more films with problems than films without (the Twilight Saga springs instantly to mind).
But, we're not here to talk about Twilight, we're here to talk about Dark Shadows.
Starting with the cast, Johnny Depp was amazing as he so often is as Barnabas Collins. I can only think of one film that he stars in that I didn't like. Helena Bonham Carter didn't appear or have as significant a role as I thought she would playing the drunk psychologist Julia Hoffman. But I'll get to that in some more detail later. Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard, not a big fan of her, but I guess if you don't like the antagonist, they're doing their job right, so kudos. I guess time heals all wounds doesn't apply in this case.
And the prize for biggest reversal of opinion in this film goes to Chloe Moretz as Carolyn. For most of the movie, I didn't like her, I don't know, her character just didn't seem to fit the time period that well. But then, at the climax, she instantly came very close to being my favourite character in the movie. Attitude problem + werewolf = hell yes in my book. At least in this case.
As for some of the more minor characters, or at least minor actors. Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, I was a bit 50-50 with her. If I remember correctly, she was the first character you see after the prologue, which in most films, identifies someone as a main character. But after the introductory arc, she barely ever appears which made it a lot harder to set up the romance between her and Barnabas (but for the most part, they still pulled it off). On the other hand, I loved her back story. Jackie Haley as Willie Loomis, probably the funniest character, besides perhaps the lead. Gulliver McGrath as David, fantastic. Michelle Pfeiffer, another good one. At first I thought she was going to be the good one that turns bad after she saw the fortune in the basement but no, she stayed loyal. Like I said, I liked her. And my absolute least favourite character in the entire movie, Roger Collins played by Jonny Lee Miller. Asshole, plain and simple.
Now for the movie itself. There's only a couple of especially good scenes that I want to point out here and the bad points that I've got probably outnumber the good. That doesn't mean there's more bad stuff than good stuff in the film, it just means that I haven't got the time or space to talk about every good scene. So just assume that everything I don't talk about here, I liked, okay?
The big climactic fight scene at the end, great. Especially the revelation of Carolyn as a werewolf and the paintings leaking blood. I liked everything about the fight scene but those two parts especially. Right after Barnabas gets released from his coffin the first time, particularly when he attacks the last guy but apologises in advance. I guess the 'taking back control' montage was pretty good too. It's been a few days since I saw it so I don't remember everything.
And now for the downsides. Mostly these are just what I consider plot holes. The main one, at the end after Victoria has jumped off the cliff and Barnabas has gone after her. Once he bit her, why didn't he try to turn them around so he landed first? Barnabas obviously wouldn't have died and Victoria might have survived cos she had another body to cushion her fall. And the curse never specified that the victim had to die, just that they had to jump off so she probably wouldn't have tried to do it again. On a related note, why was the curse still active after Angelique was dead? Still linked up, the porcelain body and crystal heart thing seemed a bit daft to me. Wasn't a big fan of the sex / fight scene. I think this is the last one, why didn't Angelique lock the coffin the second time around? Sure Barnabas couldn't move so there was no chance of him getting himself out and it was unlikely that anyone was going to go looking for him but still, if she was trying to trap him a second time, you're going to take extra precautions right?
I think that's about all I've got to say on Dark Shadows. If I forgot anything, too bad. But I have one final point.
This film definitely hinted at a sequel to me. The very end of the film when you see Hoffman's eyes open underwater? A definite cliffhanger. Okay it was always obvious she was still alive, or undead or whatever, as you saw her fangs when Barnabas killed her. But honestly, as much as I enjoyed the film, I hope there isn't a sequel. Dark Shadows is perfectly fine as a stand-alone movie.
Sure it's not quite as good as the only other film I've seen recently, Avengers Assemble but that should be pretty obvious. Avengers was amazing. Dark Shadows is good. I can recommend it but the film probably isn't for everyone. Definitely a niche movie. But it was certainly good enough to cause my friend to be a complete fangirl for it.
And that... is all I have to say.