"Dark Shadows" debuts in home video format with a two-disc set housing the film's Blu-ray, DVD, and UV digital copies. Based on the cult TV series of the same title, this self-indulgent fantasy, horror, and comedy piece by Tim Burton emulates the material's soap opera roots to create a creepy camp feature with glossy big-budget effects. It stars Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Jonny Lee Miller, and Bella Heathcote.
This quirky 2012 adaptation tells the sordid tale of a wealthy young man cursed to become a vampire after breaking the heart of a jaded witch. He accidentally wakes up from being entombed for the last two centuries when construction workers unearth his long-buried coffin. As he returns to his once-magnificent manor, he finds his motley and dysfunctional descendants occupying his family's now decaying homestead. This prompts him to reclaim his family's former glory, which also leads him to a 1970s version of the woman he fell in love with during his time. However, he also finds the same immortal witch now lording over the town and his family's business.
"Dark Shadows" has the unmistakable look of a Burton-Depp collaboration. It has a soft and eerie palette filled with dreary and desolate atmosphere, gothic imagery, and sun-starved skin tones. The extensive shadows, overcast skies, and grim grays of its groovy haunted-house treats reflect the period camp sensibilities the story needs. The expansive budget showcases superb CGI work and elaborate props, sets, and costumes.
The Blu-ray transfer preserves the picture's moody texture and detail without serious eyesores creeping into the shots. A fair degree of film grain is evident throughout. To maximize its gorgeously dark cinematography, it is best watched inside a very dark room without the need to outrageously up the TV's brightness, which would result to murky blacks.
The film sports a crisp and clear five-channel lossless soundtrack, along with five-channel dubbed versions in Spanish and French. The highly involving mix dazzles both in active and quiet moments. From the playful genre music to the horror high jinks, the production's various sound elements help create a very lively gothic atmosphere that really lends weight to the presentation.
The track rarely falters with its eerie dynamics, convincing directional effects, and bold LFE output. Vocals are always well-grounded and intelligible amidst the frequently bold surround action scenes. No crackles, pops, hisses, and distortions are noted anywhere in the mix.
The package hosts a number of worthwhile HD extras including a picture-in-picture feature filled with decent behind-the-scene clips and insights and about 40 minutes of Focus Point featurettes. It also supplies a reel of deleted scenes and subtitle options in English SDH, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
"Dark Shadows" is a moderately entertaining misfire of a movie. Although nicely shot and decently acted, it never finds the right tone because of its underdeveloped material and its problem with excess. It is ultimately disappointing, especially to Burton fans who fell in love with many of his earlier works.
If only the script and direction measured up to the exquisite technical values of the production, this expensive mix of comedy and horror could have been another memorable opus from the auteur director. Sad to say, its meandering pace makes it a messy concoction that is only able to put very little narrative drive for its story.