Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2012


 "Dark Shadows (Blu-ray)" - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Dark Shadows (Blu-ray)


Vampire Barnabas Collins awakens in 1972 after 200 years in a coffin to find his family and its fortune on the verge of ruin.  Unfortunately the witch that turned him into a monster and buried him is also still alive.  Her unreturned feelings of love for Barnabas have fueled her rage for two centuries.  Though a bloodthirsty killer, he still feels the strongest loyalty to his descendants and vows to rescue them from their plight.  Complicating matters is the young nannie, Victoria, who looks just like his lost love from the 1700s.  And then there is the strange Dr. Hoffman, a psychiatrist who lives in the house to help young David Collins cope with the loss of his mother.  She hatches a plot to become a vampire herself.  Barnabas entrusts family matriarch Elizabeth with his true identity as he sets about righting the wrongs of the past.


  • Warner Brothers
  • 2012, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 53 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring:  Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green
  • Directed by Tim Burton
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Brief
  • Language: No


This film didn't have much of a plot so much as it was a showcase for Johnny Depp's considerable talents.  I can't imagine another actor in this role and he provided many genuinely entertaining moments.  The rest of the cast was mere window dressing by comparison.  The story meanders for just under two hours and doesn't really resolve.  If you like Tim Burton's imagery and Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp, you will enjoy Dark Shadows.  For entertainment value it's worth at least a rental.


The image was highly stylized with a very dark and cool color palette.  Digital smoothing seemed abundant especially on the heavily made-up Eva Green and Johnny Depp.  Detail was fair but with all the post-production work, it came up a bit soft.  The best part was black-level detail which was superb.  This is a dark film throughout and I never saw any crushing whatsoever.  I did see occasional use of edge enhancement but it wasn't too obtrusive.  The color isn't really my thing but it was unmistakably the work of Tim Burton.

Audio was a little better than video with a richly detailed lossless encode courtesy of DTS.  Most of the action was in the front soundstage with a few nice surround moments.  The subwoofer was underutilized.  Music had a nice transparent quality and provided a great sense of foreboding at the appropriate times


Not much extra is included here.  There are around 35 minutes of short clips which can be watched all at once or accessed via picture-in-picture during the movie.  Also included are five minutes of deleted scenes.  The package I received included a DVD and a digital copy accessible via UltraViolet.