Dark Shadows Blu-Ray Review

Dark Shadows available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 10/2!

Listen To The After The Show Podcast Review Here.
The Movie: 5/10
When a movie has a lot of qualities that flip my movie lover switches I get a certain kind of excitement. When a movie has those qualities and yet none of those switches get flipped, I pout. Dark Shadows has a past as a long running super natural soap opera in the 50’s and 60’s. Our movie version has the 200 year old vampire who was wronged by a witch long ago. She cursed him to be a vampire. How that happens I do not know, I must have missed those movies telling us that part of the mythology of bloodsucking immortals.

Being cursed to be a vampire has left Barnabas Collins bitter but motivated. His family has fallen from stature in the community they once built. It’s the 70’s, the furry, hippied-up, mirrored, neurotic 70’s and a gentlemanly vampire from the 18th century doesn’t fit in. That’s one of the few things about Dark Shadows that I did like, our Barnabas does not succumb to the style or attitude of the day. He remains a man out of time, and fish out of water. This is a funny joke because the family business is fishing, see? Funny.

I just keep trying to remember funny moments, memorable scenes, movie magic that satisfied me, but it’s hard to find anything. I did like Barnabas, Johnny Depp. I was watching and kept hoping for more, something else, more of something else. It was the kind of movie that doesn’t commit to what my gut tells me it should be. It needed to either be full Burton with wacky but clever, not sort of half and half with a touch of wacky and hints of trying to be horrific, dramatic, even melodramatic  I would go for fully horrific, fully melodramatic  or a good balance.

As for funny, hmm, I giggled sometimes and there were even a few moments of recoiling with that tickled awkward kind of vibe. It was as a fun ride, just not fun enough for me. The jokey jokes about the 70’s and some of the personality quirks just didn’t do it for me. I do laugh out loud at some things. Trust me, ask my husband what he hears from the other end of the house while I’m watching my nostalgic shows like Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, M*A*S*H, and modern shows like Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, Archer, etc. I don’t just laugh my head off, but there are things in those shows that tickle my fancy and I burst out in laughter. I don’t hold movies to the same standard and I don’t generally do the burst out thing at them anyway. The thing is, Dark Shadows is trying to make me laugh, bless it, but it didn’t do it.

I like Tim Burton movies A LOT. I enjoy Johnny Depp just as much. Maybe if I watch it again in a few weeks I will appreciate it more, but in the meantime it did inspire me to watch the old classics, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, Dr. Phibes, Wolfman, etc. that do flip those movie magic switches. So, that’s a good thing:)

Features: 7/10

  • Maximum Movie Mode – Not the full Maximum movie mode we are accustomed to with Warner releases of late. Instead we get a series of Focus Points that can be watched within the movie or standalone.
  • Deleted Scenes – A series of deleted scenes that have been deleted for a reason, they are simply not good.
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
If the words were taken off, this would be one of my favorite covers, truly. The bold image of Barnabas Collins in all of his Edwardian glory is awesome. I could live with that as a poster in my house. The menu is a fun image, a very colorful presentation of the Collins family.

Audio & Video: 8/10
Dark Shadows lives up to it’s name with a great looking AVC 1080P transfer that really looks the part. Director of photography Bruno Delbonnel provides a dreary shadowy look to this very dark film. The movie looks fairly soft in comparison to a lot of today’s sharp looking Blu-Ray transfers but I think that is by design to give it that 70’s look (everything looked blurry in the 70’s right? I blame it on the drugs) This is a nice looking transfer that won’t blow you away but does present the film as it was meant to be seen.

One thing I did notice with this DTS-HD Master audio track is that during the opening few minutes the music is mixed way louder than the voice-over which gets lost in the mix somewhat. This only occurs before the title credits and after that settles down to be a great sounding fun audio track. The movie has a lot of 70’s music which sounds amazing in surround. I am not an Alice Cooper fan but his performance in the movie did sound great due to the mix here.

Value: 4/10
At around 23 bucks I can’t recommend buying Dark Shadows on Blu-Ray. I can recommend watching it for the fun of it, and judge for yourself if it’s worth the purchase price. I would add in those classics I mentioned like original Frankenstein and Dracula to make it a fully rounded horror evening.

Overall Score 6/10